Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana has opened a newly constructed, 19,000-square-foot thrift store in Pickerington.

Roughly a year after it broke ground at 909 Old Diley Road, Volunteers of America opened its newest store March 29.

John R. von Arx III, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit organization, said the store is the 10th of its kind in Ohio and the sixth such Volunteers of America thrift store in central Ohio.

He said the store cost approximately $2.7 million and will employ 40 people, 20 of whom will be full-time workers.

"The store brings 40 jobs to our community," von Arx said during a March 29 ribbon-cutting ceremony prior to the store's official opening that morning.

"But I think we all know one of the things we do that maybe is most important is (that) the work we do and the results of what this store produces helps us serve our neighbors in need.

"It helps us offer hope, restore dignity and transform lives. Ultimately, that's what it's all really about."

Debbie Gillum, a marketing and digital-communications specialist for Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana, said the Pickerington store represents an "upscale and modern design," with such features as fitting rooms, polished floors and natural light from large windows above the sales floor.

The store also has a drive-thru, covered donation area, which, von Arx said, provides additional convenience for those who donate items to the store.

He said shoppers will find everything from clothing and shoes to household items at affordable prices.

"Eighty percent of the items in our store are less than $3," von Arx said. "We add over 30,000 new items on the sales floor each week."

Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray has supported the Volunteers of America project since its announcement last year.

During a State of the City address at the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon in March 2018, he said some people questioned the need for the store and the size of its footprint.

But he noted the organization spent about $800,000 to secure the property before its construction, He also said Volunteers of America's desire to be in Pickerington showed the giving nature of the community.

At last week's ribbon-cutting, Gray reiterated his support for the project.

"This facility is basically self-sustaining because of all the donations from the community," Gray said. "Their mission is an exceptional one with all the things they do with the money they generate.

"There're a lot of people in Pickerington who enjoy thrifting. They're providing 40 jobs, as well ... and the mission they do is an honorable one. It is a nonprofit trying to improve the community and do good."

Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer Theresa Byers said she also believes the store will be good for the community.

"The 40 jobs is the big thing, and that's a huge investment in the community -- $2.7 million," Byers said. "It's a huge opportunity for Pickerington. It just adds one more solid business to the community and they do great things."

The store will operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

According to Volunteers of America, it's projected to gross $2 million in annual sales.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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