The Salvation Army Northern Division today announced the permanent closing of four “Family Store” thrift stores in outstate Minnesota, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four Minnesota Salvation Army Family Stores are closing effective immediately and are located in Morris, Cloquet, Faribault and Fairmont. The decision to close these stores is a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the restrictive retail climate being anticipated in the post-pandemic environment. As a result, 19 part-time and full-time positions are being phased out.

Retail operations of all Salvation Army Family Stores in Minnesota had been suspended back in March to protect clients, staff and volunteers from the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus. A number of other Family Stores have reopened and are following government safety guidelines, with more scheduled to reopen next month.

“This is the type of decision that is tough to make, because it has an impact on staff and the communities we serve,” said Lt. Colonel Lonneal Richardson, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “Because of the lost revenue from being closed and the challenging retail environment ahead, these stores would not be financially viable in the COVID-19 era.”

Richardson said these store closings would not affect the social service programs operated by The Salvation Army in these communities. Food distributions, emergency assistance and other social services will continue unabated in their current locations except for Faribault, whose social service office will be operating out of the Owatonna location until a new Faribault location is selected.

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