NORRISTOWN >> Heaven’s Treasures Thrift & Value Stores founder and CEO James Jones is hoping most folks agree that the chain’s grand opening on Nov. 11 will be a bit more “heavenly” than most.
The event, featuring cash and shopping spree prizes and a $2,000 vacation getaway, will be celebrated at three locations, in Norristown, Montgomeryville and Feasterville, and comes five months after Heaven’s Treasures took over the regional nonprofit thrift store chain Impact Thrift Stores Inc.
“A delay in the construction of our signs took a month longer than anticipated,” Jones noted. “We have completed the transition of branding and signage at our three stores. Now that all of our store signs have been constructed, we want to invite (everyone) in for this grand opening event.”
Registration for the vacation getaway requires visiting locations at Norristown Centre, 1700 Markley St., Norristown; 979 Bethlehem Pike, Montgomeryville; or 91 E. Street Road, Feasterville, to fill out a form. One entry per day will be accepted up until 5 p.m. on Nov. 11, with doors opening at 9 a.m.
The first 25 customers at each store will receive $25 store credit to be used the day of the grand opening.
“With the transition of branding and signage, we are excited to introduce customers to brand new products — furniture, sleepwear, bedding, shoes, sneakers, women’s fall boots, brand new toys for the holidays, and more,” Jones said.
“The ‘Value’ part in our name is that we are able to bring in brand new items at significant discounts. Excellent value items can be found for anyone in need of everyday items, birthday presents, and holiday gifts. We’re still carrying gently-used items which offer unique buying opportunities for finding vintage and collectable items which cannot be found during your average retail shopping experience.”
When, as the former CFO of Impact Thrift, Jones decided to take direction of the struggling chain by re-branding and overhauling the business model, it roughly amounted to an in-house arrangement, he said.
“I felt the need to go out on my own, and I did. Impact had been struggling financially and really had no ability to support any nonprofits for some time with the kinds of checks they had been accustomed to,” he allowed. “As time went on it became very apparent to Impact they were not going to be able to be sustainable, and that’s when I came in. I have a background in the corporate world, and my heart is in nonprofits, but you have to run things like a business. There were 200 jobs at stake and it was very probable that the outcome wasn’t going to be good. I sat with the board and we worked out a deal. Now we’re going to be running it like a business but with a heart for the community. That’s important to me.”
Retaining every Impact employee, like Myra Taylor, a supervisor at the Norristown location, for the new venture made the transition more pleasant for all concerned, said Jones.
“We are very thankful that we were able to keep 200 people employed by continuing to run the warehouse donation processing center in Montgomeryville and the three thrift stores in Norristown, Feasterville and Montgomeryville, in addition to our two stores located in Bristol and Hatboro,” he added. “I kept everybody employed and that was very important to me because a lot of times when people acquire a business they come in and say half to the left, half to the right. I tried to make it as easy on everyone as possible.”
As the executive with financial savvy, Jones was in a better position than anyone else to realize that the only way to salvage Impact was to transform it from a nonprofit to a uniquely modeled for-profit company that supports nonprofits.
“The one thing that a nonprofit can’t do is buy (new) material and re-sell it,” Jones said. “As a for-profit I can get things at significant discount and pass the savings on to the customer. We want to give value to our customers and the value part is that we buy new merchandise that’s been severely discounted and we will be giving large discounts to everything from couches to clothes to you name it.”
As the youngest of seven children, Jones said he grew up with an awareness of the value that thrift stores offer to those who don’t have a ton of money to shop at regular retail stores.
“My dad worked three jobs and kept a roof over our head and clothes on our backs, so we were very familiar with what that struggle is for a lot of people,” he said. “And so we’re really looking forward to engaging the Montgomery and Lower Bucks County communities. It’s a benefit when you can reach 30,000 people in an area.”
At the close of the acquisition, Heaven’s Treasures also made a one-time gift of $25,000 to all of the charities that had recently been supported by Impact Thrift Stores, and announced relationships with several new charities, including Chariots for Hope, Chosen 300 Ministries and Choice One.
“These will be partnerships that will allow our customers to directly support one or more of these charities and receive a tax exempt receipt for their donations,” Jones noted. “These donated items will directly support each specific nonprofit as Heaven’s Treasures Thrift has an agreement with them for the collection of these items. It’s a win-win, as the donor still has a way to recycle unwanted, “gently used” items and get a tax receipt which bears a 501(c)(3) status of their choice from these three partners. Secondly, the charity will financially benefit from these donations that are made on their behalf. We ask the donors, do you want to support orphanages in Kenya, homelessness in Philadelphia, or teen pregnancy in Bristol? We have an agreement with those charities where we pay them a certain amount per pound and they get the cash for that, and the customer gets the tax receipt. These agreements have been blessed by Harrisburg. As time goes on,” he added, “I will be supportive of other charities and creating other types of partnerships.”
Chariots for Hope, Choice One and Chosen 300, will be set up the day of the event at each store and will receive 10% of all sales that day.
Besides supporting charities and offering quality goods at affordable prices, Heaven’s Treasure’s core mission includes hiring “second chance” employees, Jones noted.
“Second chance means those coming out of addictions and, for the most part, incarceration or some issue with the law,” Jones said.
“It’s important to me that we’re not only offering good affordable merchandise, but it’s important that we have good people working for us, who are getting chances to grow in their careers,” he added.
For more information, visit HeavensTreasuresThrift.com
Heaven’s Treasures Thrift and Value Store is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Credit Times Herald Article Featuring Heaven’s Treasures: http://www.timesherald.com/article/JR/20171106/BUSINESS/171109863#.WgG0DWuCKO0.email: http://www.timesherald.com/article/JR/20171106/BUSINESS/171109863#.WgG0DWuCKO0.email