A church thrift store that's been operating in a James Island shopping center for more than two decades will close at the end of May because of rising costs in the developing area.
Closet Treasures, a ministry of James Island Presbyterian Church, opened on Folly Road in 1991. The store moved into a 4,000-square foot space in the Shoppes of Folly Road at Camp and Folly roads around 1995.
The landlord has been giving the church a break on the lease, but the cost has risen beyond what the church can afford, according to the Rev. Henry Meeuwse, the outreach coordinator.
The store is owned by Folly Camp LLC, whose agent is Charles B. Kahn of Columbia, a principal with M.B. Kahn Construction.
"With the changes on James Island and that particular shopping center, the cost of doing business has gone up," Meeuwse said, declining to disclose specific figures. "We certainly appreciated the family's support, but there comes a time when we just can’t subsidize it any more."
Other spaces in the shopping center are being advertised for up to $25 a square foot. At that rate, a space with 4,000 square feet could cost $100,000 a year.
A sign that was put up recently on the front door tells patrons the store will be closing at the end of May after 26 years of doing business there.
The store averages about 70 customers a day, Meeuwse said. It's run by six paid employees and numerous volunteers from area churches. The staff offers not only discount items but hugs and prayers, and they also distribute goods for free to needy families.
"They come there just because they want to share some love, listen to a story, shed a tear," Meeuwse said. "That's pretty well what happens every day."
The pastor said he has checked around James and Johns islands and not been able to find another place they could afford. There's not enough space for the ministry at the church at 1632 Fort Johnson Road.