C.B.S. Sally Ann Thrift Store to close

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Andrew Robinson
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Lease terminated with two-years remaining owner to renovate property

Salvation Army Thrift Store customer Lori Ann Stroud said she will be disappointed to see the Conception Bay South branch of the store close. She says she appreciated the good works the store did with the money it brought in by selling donated goods.— Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

The future of the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Conception Bay South is in doubt following news made public Wednesday that the lease for its location of 15 years in the Villa Nova Plaza has been terminated.

MBM Development Inc. informed store management in February about the possibility of ending the lease agreement, according to Jason McIsaac, retail district manager for thrift stores in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Salvation Army had two years remaining on its lease.

The store will close May 28.

"We were assuming we were just fine in our location for another two years. There was nothing on the radar about this happening," McIsaac said.

MBM made use of a demolition clause to terminate the lease. Though it's called a demolition clause, the property is not being torn down, according to a spokeswoman for MBM Development Inc.

"We're doing a renovation," said Jackie Morgan, speaking with The Telegram from her cellphone. She could not be reached for further comment.

The Salvation Army said it was given formal notice in April, and though it has been searching for a new space since February, no suitable site has been found.

"There's not a whole lot of space available," said McIsaac.

That's bad news for the four employees of the C.B.S. location. Though his office is continuing to look for a new space, McIsaac said there is not enough time to find a new location and negotiate a lease to reopen the thrift store before the end of the month.

"We're really aggressively looking for a place," he said, adding its current employees, two of whom have worked at the C.B.S. store for more than 10 years, will be at the top of the list to get rehired.

McIsaac said he was aware holding on to the lease of the Villa Nova Plaza location may not have been possible in two years time.

"A lot of times, depending on the economy, the landlords like to renegotiate higher lease rates, and maybe it would have been out of our league at that point. If there was another potential suitor that was willing to pay a lot more, who knows what would have happened. We can't count on having it automatically renewed."

Lori Ann Stroud, who was in the thrift store on Wednesday, enjoys shopping there to find unique previously used goods.

"I like that I know it supports people in need, and it's a place I can bring my things when I need to clean out my closet," she said.

"I think a lot of people are going to miss it. I know many people depend on it to help their household function."

In particular, she likes to bring her children's toys to the store as they outgrow them, knowing there are other families who can make good use of the toys through the thrift store.

"It encourages them to give it away when they're not playing with a toy any longer. They know that they're helping somebody in the long run."

McIsaac adds the store is an essential resource for people living on a tight budget. He said the closure of the store will also take a bite out of revenue used by the Salvation Army for its ministry programs.

"The community has really supported that store, and the shoppers are going to miss it."

arobinson@thetelegram.com Twitter: TeleAndrew

Organizations: The Salvation Army, MBM Development

Geographic location: Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • a business man
    May 12, 2012 - 09:59

    while this is an unfortunate situation, there is nothing wrong here folks. The landlord is within their rights to exercise a clause in the lease, and is also justified if there intention was to get the salvation army out to get in new tenants who will pay more. I am a landlord, and I use these clauses specifically to get a tenant to leave. The law are very pro-tenant, which means that it can be difficult for a landlord to get a tenant. As a landlord, the way to make the most money is to list the rental property on the open market and accept the highest offer. With tenants that are renewing the lease, the landlord typically increases the rent but still gets less than they would if they put the property on the market. SO, I use this type of clause to force out a lower paying tenant, and make way for someone to pay more money. If in fact this is what the landlord did to the salvation army, then kudos to them for using a good legal team to draft their lease. At the end of the day, the landlord can owns the property and should be able to rent it to whomever they want and whatever price they want. For example, for my residential rental homes in Toronto, I recently used the law to force my tenants out, and now I charge DOUBLE the rent to the new tenant. really though, I should not need to use the law, but rather be able to tell them to leave so I can get someone to pay more. At the end of the day, I just want more money. I really don't care who actually pays it.

  • Robert
    May 12, 2012 - 08:00

    Only those who have needed the services of the Salvation Army and those who "dish it out" fully grasp just what this organization does in a community. Those who would throw stones quite frankly don't know what they talk about and I hope they never do need the services of this finest organization.

  • Sherry
    May 11, 2012 - 20:27

    First of all, I'm devastated that the SA Thrift Store has been forced to leave it's location of 19 years. I have been employed at the CBS store for almost 12 yrs. My co-workers (my friends) & our customers have become like family to each one of us. Our store was unique. It was like a little boutique where people would drop in to not only shop but just to say hello. Some maybe twice a day. Many of our customers would come in to socialize, to relax (they say it's therapy), to have a little chat. They know there's always a listening ear if they need to talk and even a hug at times. We have cried with those who have lost loved one, those who are lonely & depressed & have tried to end their life and even those who have come to us because they have been abused and needed somewhere to go where they know they won't get hurt or judged. We laugh together on a daily basis with our customers...it's makes them feel good and it makes us feel good. You never know what someone is going thru and just to send a smile their way or have a little laugh together could mean the whole world to them at that moment. I feel devasted not only because my job will terminate at the end of the month but I feel for our customers. Many are so attached to and depend upon that thrift store. May 28th is going to be a sad, sad day for many. CBS cannot be without a thrift store and we are hoping and praying that we will soon acquire a new location in the area.

  • Lisa
    May 11, 2012 - 10:37

    Its a shame that there are so many negative and greedy people in our world! The Salvation Army does amazing work for people in need all of the world and its a shame that there is always someone ready to throw out insults and negative comments. Its easy for someone to say buy your own building - do you have any idea how much cost is associated with owning a commercial building...its fine if your Walmart but how do you expect charities to cover that cost? I hope the Salvation Army can find a new location in the near future and I would like to thank the staff for their hard work and being so wonderful over the years!!!

  • Linda
    May 11, 2012 - 10:28

    Jack, the salvation Army is Canada's largest non-governmetal supplier of social programs and as such I would think their funds are neede for these programs. The cost of buying land, building ermits, architect fees, egineers fees, contractors fees and the like associated with building a new building would tie up much needed funding that can be best used to support their programs. Retail space is generic and leasing such space I think is the better option for them.

  • Jack
    May 10, 2012 - 10:27

    Sounds like the Salvation Army are starting to show their typical defeatist attitude, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador's fastest growing town, Conception Bay South. Because Conception Bay South is growing, demands for Salvation Army's services will be increasing, meaning they have to make a more diligent effort to find a new place for their thrift store instead of closing it permanently. Secondly, why don't they build their own store so they won't have to be held hostage under major developers with constant leases? Use your brains Salvation Army and find another place for a thrift store or Newfoundland's second largest settlement will lose out to Corner Brook and Mount Pearl, community with similar sizes to CBS, as they have Thrift Stores.

    • will power
      May 11, 2012 - 14:03

      Actually, Jack, Paradise is the fastest growing community according to Statistics Canada. And your comment that the Salvation Army is showing "their typical defeatist attitude" indicates to me that you simply have some sort of issue with the organization. Odd that, especially given the incredible work they do to help people in need in CBS, in Paradise and throughout the entire country.