A Belleville thrift store closes after 15 years. The search continues for a new location

It was brought to my attention by a reader that a longstanding Belleville business recently closed.

The Mission Thrift Store, located at 653 Carlyle Ave., Suite A, closed at the end of May.

According to The Mission’s director, Ray Baumann, they were unable to renew their lease with the landlord, Ashland Storage Centers, because the storage facility needed the space to continue its expansion.

Baumann said he received three months advance notice that the lease would not be renewed but they still haven’t been able to find just the right location for the store.

The store’s closing was announced in an April 9 post on the Mission Thrift Store Facebook page.

“Despite our extensive search for a suitable new location that aligns with our needs, we have not yet identified a perfect fit,” stated the social media post. “As a result, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily pause the operations of our thrift store side of the ministry.”

Baumann said customers showed additional support once word of the closing spread.

“There were lots of people who came in religiously,” he said, adding that one regular customer said the thrift store was her church.

During its last week, the store saw more than 100 customers each day, he said.

While the store on Carlyle Avenue is now closed, Baumann hopes to eventually reopen in a new location.

“We wanna stay in Belleville,” he said.

Even the thrift store’s customers tried to help.

“Everyone was on the hunt for us,” said Baumann.

He is looking for a new location but isn’t going to rush things. Baumann wants to be sure he finds a place that is suitable for the mission’s needs and will help generate sufficient funds to support it.

Ninety percent of the operating revenue came from the store, he said.

Right now, he’s focusing on an upcoming fundraiser with a fireworks company for the Fourth of July.

There will be fireworks stands in Troy, Collinsville and Waterloo to help raise money for the ministry. Volunteers are needed. Anyone interested can volunteer via the Mission Thrift Store Facebook page.

For now, the search for a different thrift store location will take a backseat. Baumann will wait until fall to really focus on getting a new place.

“We would love to find a spot, give it another go,” said Baumann.

Ray Baumann, director of The Mission Thrift Store, is shown in the store at the time of its opening in 2009 in this BND file photo.
Ray Baumann, director of The Mission Thrift Store, is shown in the store at the time of its opening in 2009 in this BND file photo.

About The Mission Thrift Store

The Mission Thrift Store opened at 653 Carlyle Ave., Suite A, on May 1, 2009.

The faith-based, charitable organization sold donated clothing, shoes, furnishings, toys, electronics, appliances and a variety of household items.

In addition, Baumann works with multiple churches and charitable organizations, including the Salvation Army, to provide resources and support for people in need of assistance and help.

For information and updates about the organization and its activities, follow the Facebook page at facebook.com/themissionthriftstore.

Former Minister Opens Thrift Shop BND 050109 by Jennifer Green on Scribd