Salvation Army closes River West thrift store and rehab center near Tribune printing works considered for casino
RIVER WEST — The Salvation Army has permanently closed its adult rehabilitation center and thrift store in River West, citing “significant disruption” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The River West thrift store, 509 N. Union Ave., has long been a destination in the neighborhood for inexpensive furniture and clothing. The closure comes as the Tribune Publishing Center, directly north of the thrift store at 700 W. Chicago Ave., was on the city’s shortlist to host Chicago’s first casino.
The thrift store and adult rehabilitation center at 506 N. Desplaines St. next door closed all services earlier this month, the organization confirmed. The sites are adjacent to the Kennedy Highway.
Proceeds from Salvation Army thrift stores fund its adult rehabilitation centers, which provide substance abuse counseling and programs to nearly 175,000 people nationwide, the organization said.
In a statement, Maj. Kendall Mathews, administrator of the Salvation Army’s Chicago Adult Rehabilitation Center, said losses during the pandemic, in addition to ongoing construction costs, have left the store and the River West processing facility more financially viable.
“The Salvation Army has recently experienced significant disruption to operating revenues caused by necessary thrift store closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of additional factors, such as the age and maintenance costs of existing buildings and increasing operating costs, have also impacted the long-term sustainability of the facility,” says the communicated.
Prospective participants at the adult rehabilitation center are referred to the Salvation Army location at 2258 N. Clybourn Ave., which also houses a thrift store.
“Existing beneficiaries have been allowed to complete their program, receiving the spiritual guidance, group and individual counseling and recreational activities they need to lead productive and balanced lives, without disrupting their path to rehabilitation,” the report says. communicated.
Wednesday afternoon, several potential customers stopped by the thrift store without knowing that it was closed.
Neighbor Carlos Roques said he mourned the loss of the store, one of the few places in the neighborhood to find affordable household items.
“Thrift stores are very valuable and to be able to buy cheaper furniture, like I mean, this store has furnished my whole house. Everything in my room comes from here, so it’s a bit lame,” Roques said.
The Salvation Army invites customers to shop and donate at its other 20 Chicago-area thrift stores.
“While unfortunate, these changes are necessary to ensure that The Salvation Army can support the adult rehabilitation ministry,” the statement said. “Despite difficult times, The Salvation Army remains committed to the community and its residents and is in ongoing discussion to expand the services offered to the Chicagoland community.”
Over the past several decades, the area surrounding the Salvation Army’s River West location has seen an influx of luxury condos, high-end retail and restaurants. The Tribune Publishing Plant site just north of the thrift store is among the three finalists for the casino plan. Bally’s Corporation is behind the $1.8 billion proposal that would include 500 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat entertainment venue and several restaurants, bars and cafes along the Chicago River.