Schenectady County

City Mission plans to close thrift shop

A scarcity of space will prompt the City Mission to close its longtime thrift shop on Hamilton Stree

Every night, seven men may be sleeping on the floor at Schenectady’s City Mission because all the beds at the shelter are occupied.

The adjacent dining hall that served 120,000 meals when it first opened in 2006 now serves roughly 180,000 meals annually. Put succinctly, the City Mission needs more space and is running out of resources.

The scarcity of space will prompt the City Mission to close its longtime thrift shop on Hamilton Street at the end of next month. Closing the thrift shop will mean several classrooms in the building housing the men’s shelter can be relocated into the 6,000-square-foot thrift store, freeing up space for additional beds.

Mike Saccocio, the City Mission’s executive director, acknowledged the decision to close the thrift shop was a difficult one. He said the choice was between offering an economical place to shop or providing a need that is critical to the city’s indigent population.

“This is a hard decision because it’s a good little store,” he said. “We know people enjoy it.”

But Saccocio said the City Mission also needs to uphold its core value, which is to help the homeless. He said the City Mission will continue to operate its thrift store on Route 50 in Glenville, but simply couldn’t devise a way to keep the one in Schenectady open without running into logistical issues.

“There’s only so much space on the campus,” he said. “The shelters and the dining center are essential to what we do.”

The thrift shop employs one full-time worker and three part-time workers, who Saccocio is trying to move to other positions within the City Mission. He said the store has operated as part of the mission for more than five decades, but no longer provides a critical source of income.

“It is a good service locally, where people can get affordable items,” he said. “We don’t operate it to make revenue.”

Saccocio said the complex won’t get out of offering secondhand goods altogether. Plans are now in the works to convert a small warehouse near the complex into a clothing shelter that will provide free items for people in need.

Saccocio said the warehouse is now used to serve the thrift shop. But he said it requires a significant amount of renovation, including upgrades to make it handicap accessible.

Customers of the shop have expressed dismay about the closure. Saccocio said he didn’t want to close the store, but ultimately saw no other choice.

“It’s a good place,” he said. “We have good employees and the people who shop there are good people. It’s just sometimes there are scarce resources and you have to go with what you think is the greater need.”

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