Salvation Army store moving into Valley Plaza site

May 11, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

A new temporary home has been found for The Salvation Army, whose previous home on Main Street in downtown El Centro was the casualty of a fire in November that gutted the location.

"We worked out a deal, where Valley Plaza will let us use a building on a temporary basis," said Salvation Army Capt. Julio Vásquez, adding the new store will be in the former Woolworth location and is expected to open in several weeks.

Bob Houck, president of San Diego-based VPCC Inc., owner of Valley Plaza, said he was approached by the city and asked if he might be able to help.

"We were very willing," Houck said.

The city point person for the contact was City Manager Abdel Salem, who in turn, said he was contacted by members of The Salvation Army's advisory board.


"I contacted Valley Plaza officials and arranged for a temporary location for up to a year," Salem said. "I was pleased to be able to contribute. My role ended when the deal was made."

The deal includes the 10,000 square-foot store, about 30 percent larger than the downtown location, Vásquez said.

Now that the charitable group has found temporary quarters, Vásquez said the advisory board, made up of community members, will continue its search for a permanent location.

Until the move, The Salvation Army is working out of a small building and outdoor space at 771 Park Ave. in El Centro. Inside the offerings can be found in a large room and several smaller ones. There is furniture, dishes, computer equipment such as printers and monitors, microwave ovens, lamps, televisions, vacuum cleaners, mattresses, desks, clothing, shoes, dolls and more.

Vásquez said despite the loss of the downtown store, its sales and the small location on Park, The Salvation Army continues to help between 75 to 100 people daily.

"We've continued as if nothing happened," Vásquez said, adding the store is the major source of funding for the organization and with the new location he hopes things will improve.

Vásquez said national Salvation Army week is May 21-25, and that an appreciation luncheon will be held for the organization's volunteers at Four Seasons Buffet & Grill in El Centro.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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