‘It’s been very sad’: Teen Challenge Thrift Store closing

Building up the courage to get help for substance abuse is hard. Finding the resources is another story. Now, one place that helps addicts recover is closing down. The Teen Challenge Thrift Store’s last day is October 31.

On the outside, the building located in Spokane Valley is just a place, however, for some people on the inside, the thrift store means so much more.

Eric Dodgson has been working at the Teen Challenge Thrift Store for two years.

“I served a whole career in the United State Air Force. I had a career as an insurance claims assistant,” Dodgson said.

Now, he’s looking out for his fellow workers.

“To come here and be sorting through used clothes was very humbling for me,” he said.

There was a point in his life that turned everything around.

“My drinking started to get out of control to the point where I lost my home, lost my car, two failed marriages. I had no hope left,” he told 4 News Now.

He found the Adult and Teen Challenge Center, which led him to the thrift store.

“I felt called to do it,” he said.

He is an intern at the program, teaching students who are going through the same situation he did.

“At first, I was very resistant but seeing the blessings that my work was able to pour out on people kept me in the game,” he said.

Now, the place is closing. Store Manager Tito Tinajero said they are closing due to money problems.

“It’s been very sad because it had meant so much to the community,” Tinajero said.

Though Tinajero has only been working at the thrift store since June, he has built a bond with the students who work there.

“While I wont be seeing them on a day to day basis, I want to make sure that each and every one of them completes the program, and they find their way,” he said. “I will still be involved with the ministry going forward as a volunteer, going to their completion.”

Closing the door closes a chapter in many of their lives.

“I’ll be the one closing them, which is even sadder for me,” Dodgson said.

Although the store’s last day is tomorrow, Eric and the rest of the staff still have other work places they can go through the program to maintain their sobriety.

The team is hopeful the thrift store will open back up in the future years.

“Tomorrow will be the end [of the thrift store] and I know a lot of people are sad about that. I know I am. I know the students are,” Tinajero said. “We will still have the most important thing, which is changing peoples lives for the positive. That will still be going on.”

To learn more about the Adult and Teen Challenge Center or to reach out for help, head to their website here.