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