The Bread of Life Society will close Cornerstones thrift shop on Jan. 31.
The society wants to use the space from Cornerstones—which has been a separate entity attached to the Bread of Life building—to increase its meal programs to seven days a week.
“Our plan is that we will be able to increase our dining room capacity,” Bread of Life Society president Minnie Hornidge said.
“In making this decision we are responding to the demand for services and adapting to changes over time.”
The thrift store, which was set up many years ago “when inexpensive household goods and clothing were not readily available,” has steadily been losing money, Hornidge said.
“It hasn’t been making a profit for a number of years and those expenses continue to go up.
“Although the store has provided as much as 25 per cent of our income, it also requires more than 25 per cent of our expenses, and over the last few years has become a liability.
“Today there is no purpose in maintaining our store at a loss when such goods are available elsewhere.”
There are at least six second-hand stores within a five-block radius of Uptown Port Alberni, where Cornerstones is located.
There is one longtime employee at Cornerstones who will lose her job once the store closes. “I’m bound by confidentiality,” Hornidge said when asked about the layoff.
Hornidge expects the closure process at the store will continue into March. “We hope to move into our new projects soon after that,” she added.
The Bread of Life made an appeal in December for more donations as it looked like they were $20,000 short of their annual budget. They were able to make that up, Hornidge said. “We now have hit our budget for last year so that’s great.
“We’re looking at ways of decreasing some of our expenses so we can meet our expenses for the additional meal service.
“Our plan…is to run a pilot program to gather statistics on usage,” she said.
The board will apply for a grant to cover the pilot program.