Customers, volunteers begin petition drive to save store

Published: Monday, January 13, 2014 at 03:44 PM.

Major Caleb Prieto is commanding officer for the Northwest Florida Salvation Army, but he was out of the office this week and unavailable for comment.

Prieto sent a letter on Jan. 8 informing Manager Trish McCallister that the store would be closed by Jan. 30.

“We have made the difficult decision to close the Chipley Family Thrift Store,” the letter stated. “We have been struggling to keep the store open for a few years, but have come to the conclusion that, due to several factors, it is not economically feasible to keep it open.”

“The Salvation Army is committed to continuing Social Services in Washington County and arrangements are being made to continue services,” according to the letter from Prieto. “As soon as all details are in place, we will release information to the media and community leaders.”

McCallister said she was saddened that the thrift store was being closed. “Now is a time economically this county really needs our services,” she said. She added that the Salvation Army provides clothing to people who have lost everything due to a fire, or who have just gotten out of jail. “Who is going to take over those social services?”

Monday Barefield was going to all the businesses in downtown Chipley, asking for signatures and support. The petition is also available in the thrift store, which is located on Highway 77 in downtown Chipley, and customers may sign to show their support for the store, Barefield said.

“If some business had a building we could use, maybe we could save the store by lowering the overhead, or maybe we could start a separate branch up here,” Barefield said.

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