“We’ve been expanding our store there because of the demand and to give out more vouchers in the community."
Save ’N’ Share’s 49-year history is about to expand its impact even more.
The thrift store, run by McPherson’s Churches United in Ministry, is starting an expansion that will add 1,800 square feet at the front of its 209 S. Main St. location. The extra space will allow volunteers to sell more donated merchandise, and increased proceeds will benefit more low-income families through CUM’s vouchers.
“We’ve been expanding our store there because of the demand and to give out more vouchers in the community,” said Roy Wash, planning and maintenance coordinator of Save ’N’ Share. “We won’t change any of the front. We’re basically filling in the openings with windows and matching brick.”
Though the location is not on a historical registry, the organization hopes to preserve the building’s antique appearance through the renovations.
“The building was an old filling station at one time, McCoy Motors, and the overhang at the front is where the cars went through and there were gas pumps in there,” Wash said. “We’ll keep the front looking the same. The brick company came down and gave us some samples so we found a brick that’s almost the same as what’s on the front now, so we’ll use that below the windows on the front to keep the same look of it.”
Enclosing the overhang with glass windows will also halt an expensive problem of rainwater blowing under the front door. Water damage under the front planters has also made it impossible to include them in the final design, but matching brickwork will tie the new elements to the original façade.
“The money that it takes to fix that problem would cover the cost to enclose and expand the whole space,” said Terry Stieben, store co-manager. “We’re already a bit crowded, so if we do that, then we’ll have room to give each section a little bit more. We were so proud when we first moved in here because we had nice, wide aisle the handicapped could navigate. Over the last couple years, those aisles have gotten tighter.”
Construction will start soon and progress in phases so the public will have continuous access to the store, either by using the rear entrance of the building or through the Churches United in Ministry entrance in later phases.
Churches United in Ministry provides assistance for those with limited income by offering vouchers for items such as rent, utilities and prescriptions. In 2016, Churches United in Ministry assisted 1,655 families, consisting of 4,066 household members.
Sales at Save ’N’ Share have returned nearly $3 million to the community since 1968.
“We’re pretty proud of what we’ve given back to the community through the income we’ve had in there,” Wash said. “There’s some really good managers and volunteers in there that are doing a great job.”
The thrift store started in the basement of the First Christian Church in 1968 and has operated out of three other buildings in downtown McPherson before Churches United in Ministry purchased the current location for the store and offices in 2012.
“We’ve got a tremendous amount of volunteers that sacrifice their time to keep this thing going. It’s just a marvelous thing,” Wash said.