The existing and most popular Liberty Thrift location (above), also in Lower Pottsgrove at the North End Shopping Center, will remain open to complement a new site at the former Sanatoga K-Mart
On Monday night (Feb. 29, 2016), before large crowds were expected to arrive the next day for the grand opening of the nearby new Landis Supermarket, employees of Liberty Thrift hung a small but conspicuous vinyl banner outside the front doors of the vacant former K-Mart located across the Sanatoga Village shopping center parking lot, at 2200 E. High St.
“Liberty Thrift & Home Furnishings, Coming Soon!,” it proclaimed.
The two retailers, Liberty Thrift office manager Zack Payne explained Tuesday (March 1), intended to send a unified and hopeful message. “We wanted to show there was more than just one business going into the center, that we’re coming too.” Landis and Liberty “think Sanatoga is a place for growth, and we’re hoping others will follow,” he said.
Liberty’s newest and largest store is anticipated to open during June in the 84,000-square-foot building abandoned by K-Mart in September 2014. Liberty is a re-seller of publicly donated “gently used merchandise” such as housewares, clothing, toys, appliances, collectibles and furniture. It also sells some new items.
Liberty will close its outlet store at 1432 E. High St., Pottstown, sometime this spring and merge it into the new operation, Payne’s immediate supervisor and Liberty Thrift Director of Operations Brian Jones said in a press release.
What Payne said is Liberty’s most popular store of six, also located in Lower Pottsgrove Township at the North End Shopping Center on North Charlotte Street, will remain open. “We believe there’s plenty of business for both locations,” Payne said. Additionally, the Sanatoga store “will be instrumental in expanding” Liberty’s eBay-like online store, and current and future retail markets, according to Jones.
Two Liberty stores, one of them an infants and young children’s specialty shop, can be found in Collegeville as well. Others are in Quakertown and Spring City.
“This new operation will help us improve efficiency across all of our locations,” Jones added. “It will allow Liberty to reach a new section of the Pottstown community with a new place to donate, shop, and volunteer.” One key to customer and future employee convenience, he noted, is the shopping center’s stops on the routes of Pottstown Area Rapid Transit buses.
Yes, Jones acknowledged, new jobs will be available before the location opens. “The Sanatoga store will create many job opportunities for individuals in the local community. Liberty will start the hiring process in May 2016,” he said, but applications are already being taken online here.
Liberty signed a lease for and took possession of the keys to K-Mart in mid-February, Payne said.
Since then, its employees have been inside the store, evaluating how to best use the space. “We’re already working on the renovation, assessing and seeing what needs to be done,” Payne said. Some walls will be removed, he noted, to open up more square footage for retail use. A rear loading dock area will remain for donation drop-offs.
A work crew was busy arriving at and moving inside the empty building Tuesday shortly before 9 a.m., as Landis’ eager customers were simultaneously pulling in for that store’s grand opening.
Liberty Thrift was founded in 1998 as a fund-raising arm of Liberty Ministries. The Schwenksville PA-based religious organization was formed in 1980 with a mission to serve prison inmates and those just released. The ministry’s most recent publicly available financial statement, for the year ending December 31, 2014, indicated its thrift store division attracted $3.56 million in sales revenue over 12 months, up from $3.14 million the previous year.
Liberty Ministries “has a residential facility designed to equip men for successful reintegration into the community, and (the new store) location will help the ministry expand as it looks to open a women’s program in the near future,” Jones said.
Photo from Liberty Thrift & Home Furnishings