Thaler McCormick, CEO of local charity ForKids, presented her organization’s Wards Corner based Thrift Store proposal on Saturday at the monthly Wards Corner Now meeting.
The store, which is slated to occupy space in the shopping center at the southeast corner of Wards Corner (commonly referred to as the Perry Property), would include 7500 square feet of retail space and 3500 square feet of warehouse space in the former Sports Zone location. That space has been vacant for 18 months according to the landlord, Chris Perry, who also attended the Saturday meeting.
Major concerns with the proposal included a thrift store not being the direction that the business district needs to move in and the appearance of donations being left in front of the store.
Ms. McCormick indicated that she understood that the eventual plan is to redevelop the shopping center and a clause will be included in her lease that will require her to move out upon six months notice.
Mayor Fraim, who was also present at the meeting, offered support for Ms. McCormick and her organization but indicated he understood why some people have concerns. The Mayor suggested that Ms. McCormick meet with the civic leagues individually before any decisions by Council are made.
To open a thrift store a special exception to the zoning must be approved by City Council. Another concern was that the zoning change would allow other thrift stores to open up in the same shopping center or that ForKids could sell the store to a different operator. Mayor Fraim indicated he would have the city attorney research whether the special exception can be tied to the particular owner.
Other details of the proposed project:
- The Thrift Store will be owner operated
- Two full time paid staff, 5 part time paid staff, plus volunteers
- Hours: Mon-Sat 10AM-7PM, Sun 12PM-5PM
- Investors: Hampton Roads Community Foundation, The Parsons Foundation, Suburban Asset Management
- Project Director: Bill Young, former owner of Taste Unlimited
This thrift store can be an asset to Wards Corner if built and managed properly. Just like any business, there are many different types of thrift stores. Some are clean, well organized and have high quality inventory that turns over quickly. Others are the opposite. Judging by the non-profit involved, investors and program director, I am guessing it will be done right. I look forward to seeing the progress and will be happy to help For Kids create an upscale thrift store, which can be a benefit to Wards Corner and positively impact many lives.
America was going to be one continuous strip mall? Now it seems Norfolk is gonna be one continuous trash store. Yes what we need are more second hand stores with the name of supposed charities on them. They create lots of minimum wage jobs and really add to the ambiance of the empty decaying voids that were once upon a time stores. Maybe we could hand spray cans of paint out to the local kids and call the result art. That would really make this an attractive place to live then.
What are you doing to create any jobs? What are you doing to add to the ambiance of Wards Corner? What are you doing for the local kids? Art? Actions speak louder than words. I would love for you to put your energy into doing something constructive in Wards Corner…
well lets see i’m paying taxes on a house i cant sell for 70% of its assessed value while the “kids” tear up my property. As far as creating jobs i assure you no one i work with is making minimum wage without benefits. oh i could be working for a fortune 500 company producing nothing. I choose to work for a small company (in norfolk) that provides living wages for people with families. meanwhile i get fleeced by everything and anything that has to do with the local government. lies lies and more lies. So keep up that pie in the sky outlook and that condescending self righteous tone it will take you far.
A thrift store? Really? Is that was the Wards Corner area is needing? How about some legitimate businesses. Wards Corner is nothing but a great travesty! Why does the city continue to ignore this area along with Oceanview? When is it our turn? Lets keep putting in businesses that will keep legitimate businesses away. Great plan… 😦
A shopping center with traffic is much better than one with empty storefronts, so the inclusion of a thrift store at Wards Corner could actually be of benefit to the remaining merchants.
Let’s face it, in the current economy more and more people are including thrift stores in their list of preferred shopping options in order to make their money go a little farther. Besides, For Kids is a very worthwhile organization which would also benefit by having the thrift store as an additional source of revenue.
As long as For Kids can comply with the requirements of the mall association and address the concerns of the surrounding civic leagues, this looks like a win-win situation for all!
Let’s all join Mayor Fraim in his support of this most worthy endeavor!