Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Colorado Springs nonprofit going bigger with new thrift store location

By Ned Hunter Updated: April 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm

The Assistance League of Colorado Springs is moving its Bargain Box thrift store to a larger location to offer more clothing and other items - and raise more money to help its charities.

The league plans to open its new location at 405 S. Nevada Ave. on May 3. The nonprofit will hold a private party Thursday to show invited supporters the building before items are moved inside, said Allene McWilliams, public relations chairwoman.

The money raised from the thrift store is used to fund several of the organizations charities, McWilliams said, but most of the revenues are used for its Operation School Bell program, which provides new clothing and hygiene items for needy El Paso County children.

McWilliams did not know the size of the new building compared to the organization's current facility, but described it as "huge."

"We are only going to be using a third of the building when we start," she said.

The league eventually hopes to offer discounted furniture at the new location, which is the former Pettigrew auction building, McWilliams said. It will be dedicated in May to Mary Ellen Pettigrew, a past president of the organization. The league purchased the facility from the family on Dec. 4 for $ 813,000, according to the El Paso County Assessors office.

McWilliams said the league has not discussed what to do with its current building at 211 E. Costillia St.

"We could sell it," she said, "or we could use it for parking."

Assistance League of Colorado Springs' charities all focus on helping children. In addition to Operation School Bell, its programs include Can you Hear Me, which tests the hearing of preschoolers, and Buddy Bear, which provides Teddy bears to the Colorado Springs area fire department to distribute to area children and others.

The league had assets of about $1.7 million at the end of its 2012 fiscal year, according to guidestar.org, which tracks nonprofit nationally. The league claimed a fund balance of about $1.4 million for the same year. Those numbers do not reflect the purchase of the new building.

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Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275

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