Impact Thrift Stores will sell its three stores in Lower Southampton, Montgomery Township and Norristown.
The new owner will be Heaven’s Treasures Thrift & Value Stores LLC of Wilmington, Delaware, which in February acquired Impact’s stores in Hatboro and Bristol Township. Heaven’s Treasures plans to keep all of Impact’s employees at their current pay and benefits. Tom Tillett, chairman of Impact’s board of directors, said the stores had been successful and profitable until the past year or so, when — like many in the retail industry — it began to see a decline in sales.
“I think everyone today in the retail market is having to make changes to adapt to this changing environment,” he said. “Fortunately for us, we had an outcome that didn’t lead to the outcome the other stores have gone to, where they’ve gone into bankruptcy and gone out of business. This was an outcome we thought was a win-win. I’m delighted we had an opportunity to work with (Heaven’s Treasures CEO James Jones) to achieve this.”
Tillett said it was important to Impact that its employees — many of whom would have difficulty finding jobs elsewhere because of criminal records or other issues — retained employment. It was also important to continue to support nonprofits, as Heaven’s Treasures will do, he said. Tillett said Impact Thrift would be dissolved after the sale. Financial details were not disclosed. Jones, a former banking executive who previously served as Impact Thrift’s chief financial officer, said buying all of Impact’s stores wasn’t part of the discussion when he bought the two smaller stores earlier this year. But Impact struggled with profitability even after shifting its focus to its three larger stores, Jones said.
“There’s 200 people at Impact in operations and the stores; their jobs were at stake,” Jones said. “I know a lot of these people. I know that there’s a good core of people still at Impact.” The sale is expected to close later this month. Jones said the stores will not close, and will continue to operate under the Impact Thrift name until Heaven’s Treasures signs can be made and installed.
Like Impact, Heaven’s Treasures will donate part of its proceeds to select charities, although unlike Impact, Heaven’s Treasures is a for-profit company. Jones said the charities the stores will support will be announced at a later date, but some will be the same as those to which Impact already donates. When the sale closes, Heaven’s Treasures will make a $25,000 donation to Impact Thrift’s charities, which primarily support children and families. Jones said customers should expect to see an increase in non-clothing items — although clothing will remain an important part of the merchandise mix — as well as an assortment of new items at hefty discounts.
He said he is confident he can return the stores to profitability by focusing on customer experience and value.
“As a former banker, numbers and profitability are near and dear to my heart,” he said. “I think that when you approach it as a business that supports charities, that’s an important distinction. You can’t support the charity if you’re not running it as a business.”