“Essentially we are scared for the safety and security of our customers and employees,” said Daniel Jordan, director of fund development for Hospice of the East Bay.
As one of only a few tenants in the shopping center at 2742 Delta Fair Blvd., Jordan said the store’s locks have been cut multiple times and fires set in trash cans nearby. “Closing the store took a lot of thought,” Jordan said. “It wasn’t easy.”
What was once a local hub for bargain shoppers has turned into a shop on the brink of closing Oct. 28.
Its windows, which once gave customers a glimpse of the electronics, furniture and household items for sale, now display signs announcing its closure.
The store’s three employees and numerous volunteers have not decided if they will move to the organization’s new location in Martinez, which will open soon, Jordan said. “It’s heartbreaking with such a wonderful staff and customers to say we are leaving,” he said.
Customers who relied on the store’s bargains will now be directed to the organization’s next closest store in Concord, said Robin Jones, media coordinator for Hospice of the East Bay.
For Candice Rowlett, a loyal customer of the Antioch store, it cannot be replaced. Tuesday, she buried her sadness about the store’s closure in her purchase of two luggage cases. “I’m so upset,” Rowlett said. “They’re so kind and friendly here. It’s like coming home for a while. You can pick up neat things that make you feel good.”
Hospice of the East Bay operates six stores in the East Bay. Its new Martinez location will replace the Antioch store, and under the guidance of a new general manager, take on the feel of a boutique. “That location (Martinez) will bring in about the same amount of income as the Antioch store, and probably even more,” Jones said.
Richard Cervantez, manager of the Antioch store, plans to retire for a second time when the store closes. He describes the store’s employees, volunteers and customers as one big family. “I’ve seen these people’s (customers) kids grow up,” Cervantez said.
Proceeds from all six thrift stores support the organization’s services, which offer care to patients by honoring their wishes, ensuring their personal dignity and providing physical, emotional and spiritual comfort.
The Antioch location plans on holding a large sale to clear the store before it closes. It’s no longer accepting items, but still offers a large selection of merchandise. Anything left will be donated to another nonprofit in the Bay Area, Jones said.
As Rowlett left Tuesday, she was determined to make the most of her final days to shop at the store. “I guess I will just have to spend all the money I don’t have,” she said.
For more information about Hospice or its thrift shops, visit www.hospiceeastbay.org.