Thrift store opens in former Legion building on Main Street in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Community Action of Orleans & Genesee celebrated the opening of the Main Street Thrift Store this morning at the former American Legion at 131 South Main St. Pictured, cutting the ribbon, include from left: Brooke Pontillo, president of the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce; Ed Fancher, executive director of Community Action; State Assemblyman Steve Hawley; and Bill Privett, chairman of the board for Community Action.

ALBION – Two years ago Community Action began looking for a new site for its thrift store and job training site. The agency used two downtown storefronts, but they were crowded with merchandise.

Today the agency celebrated the new home for its store. Local officials and many agency leaders in the community turned out for the ribbon-cutting at the former American Legion site at 131 South Main St.

The site boosts the available retail space by 1 ½ times. There is much more parking and improved accessibility for customers.

Community Action worked hard in recent months on the former Legion building, turning the site into a thrift store and donation center.

The site feels more professional, offering a better training ground for residents to learn skills that can transfer to other employers, Community Action officials said.

“Our very mission is to assist low-income people to achieve their potential,” said Bill Privett, chairman of the board for Community Action.

Ed Fancher, agency executive director, said about 50 people complete job training programs annually through the program and find employment.

“The program has been working so let’s do more of it and expand on our success,” Privett said.

Christy Lopez is the cashier at the new Main Street Thrift Store, and Phyllis Conn is the customer.

Proceeds from the sales of the clothing, furniture and other items in the store go back into the program, benefitting residents who are learning job skills, Fancher said.

“People come here to seize the opportunity to change the direction in their lives,” he said about the people running the cash register, cleaning and organizing the merchandise and doing other tasks.

Community Action used 20 gallons of paint to give the interior a fresh new look. The lighting is all new as well.

The Legion will continue to have use of the back bar for another 16 months. After the Legion finds a new location, the bar area may be used by Community Action for receiving and processing donations, Fancher said.

The store has clothing, collectibles, furniture and other items for sale.

Phyllis Conn is a frequent customer at the thrift store. She said the agency puts out good merchandise.

“The other site was lovely, but this is marvelous,” she said in the remodeled location. “This is a class act. It’s more of what you’d find in a city area.”

Conn donates items to the store. She is happy to see the store move to a bigger site.

“This is a great organization and they do so much for the community,” she said.

The store will have later hours at the new location. It will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Saturday, and from 10:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Community Action worked on the building, improving a prominent site in Albion. The photo shows people gathered for a ribbon cutting this morning.