“Sad” is the word management and customers used to describe the decision to close the El Campo Crisis Center Resale Store due to consistent declining profits.
Kelli Wright-Nelson, interim director for the Matagorda County Women’s Crisis Center in Bay City, said they have to be out of the leased building by Aug. 31.
“We will take it a week at a time to see where we’re at on inventory,” Wright said.
The store, at 116 E. First, just celebrated its fifth anniversary in El Campo, but it has struggled financially or broke even all that time, Wright said.
“When we began to pay rent ($1,500/month), we were still able to cover the cost of the store with rent, utilities, salaries and repairs, but in the past six to eight months it has been a loss, and it has cost us significantly to keep the store open,” she said.
The store was losing from $600 to $2,000 a month, money that could be put back into the community for victim services, Wright said.
“We had to make a decision – do we want to keep the store open or do we put the money to use in other ways to efficiently and effectively serve survivors.”
Closing the store was not a decision the Crisis Center board made lightly, Wright said.
“The board of directors have looked at the store for months to see what we could do differently. The resale shop helped us connect with clients, and we had amazing employees.”
The store employed one full-time and two part-time positions.
The Bay City resale store in contrast does well financially because it is inside the Crisis Center building where victim services are provided, and it operates rent-free.
“The landlord was great with us and worked with us a lot. It was a shame we had to leave our lease early, and even then, they have treated us very well,” Wright said.
Lisa Hathway shopped at the store every couple of months when she worked in Wharton. Now that she works in El Campo she thought of shopping at the store once a month, but then heard the news it was closing.
“I was sad,” Hathway said of the news.
“I’ve always enjoyed it. I look for books and clothes for my grandchildren because they grow out of them,” she said.
Hathway felt the store helped those in the community buy clothes who would not be able to otherwise afford clothing at regular price.
Nina Trejo, of El Campo, was summer dress shopping with her 10-year-old granddaughter Anahlysa Gonzales Thursday afternoon. The store was busy with customers looking for bargains, with everything in the store selling at a 75 percent discount.
“I have always found what I needed at a reasonable price especially bracelets and charms,” Trejo said.
“It’s sad it’s closing. I just don’t understand why,” she said.
Trejo would go to the store for last-minute, needed things for her grandchildren’s school projects.
“Just about anything you wanted you would find in here.”
Sharon Lane, resale director for the Women’s Crisis Center, who manages the resale store in Bay City, said she hopes to sell the merchandise that remains before the end of the month.
“People in El Campo have been in here in tears. We’re closing due to not being able to get out of the red for a long period,” she added. ”It’s done with regret.”
“El Campo has shown up and bought a lot of stuff and that’s great. I wish they would have been in prior to this,” Lane added.
Even though the store is closing, Wright said the Crisis Center is not removing its services from El Campo. On the contrary, it has an office with the El Campo Police Department and at the Northside Education Center with one dedicated advocate and another newly hired advocate who will both work alternating schedules.
“We have drastically expanded our services over the past six months,” Wright said.
The resale store ran completely off of donations, and Wright encourages El Campo residents to keep donating to the Crisis Center.
“El Campo has always been absolutely amazing in the donations they provide us with a lot of the donations brought back to the shelter. We can arrange a drop off site for donations that will continue to serve our shelter and non-residential clients.”
Store hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.