After a lengthy hiatus from having a retail store in the Eagle River after closing down it’s former location in the Fire Lake Plaza, the Salvation Army has announced its plans to set up shop in the Eagle River Town Center mall near the Alaska Club.
The Salvation Army’s trademark emblem with its red background went up last week on the town center’s marquee sign facing the Old Glenn Highway in downtown Eagle River. Other outdoor signage is being installed in the next week, according to Major Paul Chouinard of the Salvation Army.
“We wanted to continue having an operation in Eagle River,” Chouinard said. “We’ve been working on this for the past two years. Many people have called us and said that they have missed having the Salvation Army in Eagle River.”
With 24,000 square feet, the space the Salvation Army purchased in the town center is twice the size of its previous operation tucked in the back section of the Fire Lake Plaza. The new store, which should open in early 2017, will be the largest SA store in the Anchorage Bowl and possibly the largest one in the state, Chouinard said.
Chouinard said the Salvation Army plans a more modern-looking thrift store. Two entrances – one in the front section and one on the side – equal having two check-out areas to speed transactions for customers.
“Most stores only have one check-out,” he said.
The entire space is being retro-fitted with new fixtures, he said. Bathrooms are being updated and brand new shopping carts are on order.
The front section of the store is slated to showcase antiques and collectibles in an open, spacious display section not commonly seen in thrift stores.
“It will be very open and very fresh,” Chouinard said.
A dedicated area to receive donations is planned for the rear of the store. In the past, SA store managers’ battled clutter out front as the store’s exterior donation area often became an after-hours dumping grounds for people’s unwanted goods that did not fit the “gently used” description the SA requests donations fit.
General contractors are currently working to update the town center space as fixtures arrive from the Lower 48, Chouinard said.
For now, he wants to remind Chugiak and Eagle River residents that the Salvation Army offers a truck service to pick up large items such as appliances and furniture from donors’ residences.
“We will come get it,” Chouinard said. “We are going to need support in terms of receiving donations and in terms of people shopping at the new store.”
Proceeds from sales at Salvation Army thrift stores in the Anchorage area support the Army’s alcohol and drug rehabilitation center for adult males.
“We are excited to be returning to Eagle River,” Chouinard said. “We have received many phones from people telling us that they miss us.”