Family Store moving from Cambridge Plaza to former Cambridge Motorsports building
CAMBRIDGE — The Salvation Army Family Store is marching down the road.
As work to transform Cambridge Plaza into Cambridge Marketplace will soon begin, the store temporarily closed Wednesday.
Roughly a week ago, work began to transform the former Cambridge Motorsports building into the new Family Store. A grand reopening is set for 10 a.m. May 13, the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
Capt. Aaron Abram and Capt. Rebekah Abram, a husband and wife team in charge of the Salvation Army – Cambridge, are eager to open the new store. They see a lot of potential for the new, bigger space.
“We’re very excited about the fact that we’re in a much more high traffic area,” Mr. Abram said Tuesday while working at the new location, “especially during peak summer traffic season.”
The former store at Cambridge Plaza was along US RT. 50, but wasn’t highly visible from the road. The new store is right next to US Rt. 50, near Church Creek Road (Rt. 16). On Tuesday, a paint crew was working outside to improve the appearance of the awnings and trim.
Mr. Abram said Salvation Army staff, including corps officers from Atlanta who specialize in branding, are working on light renovations inside the store. The group is removing old decorations, patching small holes in the floor and walls, painting, and installing a new counter and point-of-sale system. Store employees will not be out of a job until May 13. They are helping make the move, and training to use the new sales system.
With the move, retail floor space is increasing from more than 5,000 square feet to more than 6,000 square feet. The Family Store is also gaining a significant amount of wall space for shelves and hangers. The Abrams predict the new store will have double to triple the number of items for sale over the old location.
When the store opens May 13, it will be stocked with fresh items. No inventory from the old store will be moved to the new store. The store will also have a very different and improved look.
“It’s going to be a whole new experience for our customers,” Mrs. Abram said.
Funds raised at the Salvation Army Family Store directly support the church’s mission. Salvation Army – Cambridge offers a number of services to residents of the Mid-Shore, including assistance with rent, utilities, food, a homeless shelter, and even a children’s summer camp.
“I’m very excited about the potential of this building,” Mrs. Abram said. “We’ll be able to help a lot more people.”
The Salvation Army is gaining about 7,000 square feet of floor space in addition to the showroom. An outdoor canopy on the western side of the building will be used as a donation drop-off area. There are plans to place a trailer on premises so donations can be made 24 hours a day. Other areas of the building will be used to sort donations and get them ready to sell. In the past, donations were sometimes turned away, but now the store will be able to accept more items.
“The corps is based in Cambridge but it really serves the Mid-Shore,” said Allen Nelson, chairman of the Salvation Army — Cambridge advisory board. “What we’re trying to do is really reach out and have a bigger presence in the counties.”
The extra space at the new facility — which was purchased, not leased — will allow the Salvation Army to expand its presence. At the moment, opening the new store is priority one, but Mr. Nelson said the corps’ social services and administrative offices will eventually move from the church at 200 Washington St. to the new building. This will allow the church to introduce Sunday school and other programs.
“We’re truly here to help people,” Mr. Nelson said, “but give them a hand up rather than a hand out.”
With more space, and potential for more programs, comes a need for more help. The corps is hiring more staff. Anyone interested in working for the Salvation Army should call 410-228-2442 or stop by the church and offices at 200 Washington St. during regular business hours.
Bob Zimberoff is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.