Mission eyes Classy Rack thrift store for the Valley

Mission eyes Classy Rack thrift store for the Valley

Stewart, Marc

The Union Gospel Mission Association of Spokane, a nonprofit organization that operates two homeless shelters and a Classy Rack thrift store here, has bought a retail building and lot in Spokane Valley to expand its retail operation.

The nonprofit plans to open a Classy Rack thrift store and a donated vehicles sales lot at the Property, at 11921 E. Sprague, says Phil Altmeyer, its executive director.

He says that the organization expects to make minor improvements to the 25,000-square-foot building, which formerly housed a Best Way Building Supply store.

Union Gospel Mission bought the building for roughly $800,000, using money from the nonprofit’s foundation, Altmeyer says.

It likely will open the vehicle sales lot later this spring and a Classy Rack thrift store by mid-summer, Atlmeyer says.

The auto center will be a new venture for Union Gospel Mission. It will collect donated vehicles at the lot. The nonprofit will give some of the cars it receives to qualified low-income individuals, and sell the rest.

“This will help meet the needs of providing decent transportation to people who need it,” he says. “We’ll also be teaching basic skills such as detailing and other mechanical work.”

Union Gospel Mission employs about 25 people at its Classy Rack store at 301 W. Boone. Altmeyer expects that it will hire about the same number of people for its Valley thrift store and auto center.

“We’ve done really well with our first Classy Rack,” Altmeyer says. “It’s met our goals and needs. We want to expand on that, and the Valley location will give us an opportunity to do so.”

Workers at the auto center will make reasonable repairs on donated cars. Vehicles that can’t be repaired will be taken to the junkyard, he says.

The nonprofit says one of the reasons it decided to start selling vehicles is because of a recent change in the U.S. tax code. Altmeyer says that up until 2005, people who donated their vehicles to charities could deduct the estimated market value of their vehicle from their taxes. The law, however, now says that individuals only can deduct what a vehicle actually resells for.

Along with meeting basic needs, Union Gospel Mission provides spiritual-based drug and alcohol treatments, Altmeyer says. The organization operates shelters at 1224 E. Trent and at 2828 W. Mallon.

Copyright Northwest Business Press Inc. Jan 27, 2005

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