Sterling resident Debbie John recently unloaded items from her truck into the small wooden cabin on the left side of the new Bishop’s Attic location on Wilson Lane in Soldotna.
“I use Bishop’s Attic quite a lot for donations,” Johns said.
Johns said she donates often to the thrift store, mostly because the thrift store had a hand in helping a family member after a house fire.
“They helped my brother many years ago,” she said.
As she finished unloading her truck, she looked toward the new store.
“The new place looks nice,” John said.
Assistant manager Leanne Barenz could not agree more.
“We love it here,” Barenz said. “It is a nice, new environment.”
Barenz said the store closed in its former Kenai Spur Highway location on May 10 and reopened on May 15 in the former location of A-1 Enterprises Inc.
Bishop’s Attic is a non-profit program of Catholic Social Services. The proceeds from the store assist area organizations including Love INC, ABC Pregnancy Care Center and the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.
Barenz said the overall reaction of customers who have visited the new location has been positive.
“They love how organized it is and how much space we have,” she said.
The new location has more floor space, which makes it more wheelchair accessible.
Barenz said a woman recently came and was pleased about the ease of shopping with her wheelchair and walker.
“She loved that she can use them both and not have to be afraid of running into things,” she said.
Although the move to a new location across town slightly halted sales in the beginning, Barenz said the better location with more square footage was a benefit to moving.
“It was a little slow the first couple days, but now that everyone knows we didn’t close, it is starting to pick up,” she said.
She explained that because there was a lot of theft at former store location, a night man was put on watch to discourage those who would otherwise fish through donated bags.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize it is stealing, they consider it dumpster diving,” she said. “But they have to consider that if we don’t have product to sell then a lot of us would not have a job and then we can’t help the community.”
Barenz said the more private, fenced in area has helped with an increase in donations.
“Oh we have noticed,” she said. “It has been a lot better.”
Barenz said the move did not create a need to increase the price of items and the thrift store now offers a daily senior discount and the option to sell consignment items. Also, the popular bag sale is offered most days.
“We have so much clothing, we might as well let people buy it like that and get it through, so we don’t just have it stacking and stacking,” she said.
To celebrate of the move, Bishop’s Attic will hold a grand opening event on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
Sara J. Hardan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.