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Thrift shop to close doors, look elsewhere

The Lakeview store will have a sale, then close Saturday. Another Pinellas spot is sought. A grocery may move in.

By SHARON L. BOND

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 18, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Sunshine Thrift Store is closing Saturday after 15 years in Lakeview Shopping Center. The lease ran out, and owners are looking for a more modern building in which to settle.

Another tenant is about to be signed for the space at 2333 34th St. S, said Mitlin Properties, the shopping center's leasing agent.

"We have been negotiating with a supermarket that should be an asset to the area," said Ira Mitlin. "There used to be a Publix there."

Mitlin would not identify the grocery, but said a lease could be signed in the next week to 10 days.

Sunshine Thrift Stores Inc., headquartered in Tampa, hasn't found a new Pinellas County site yet, according to Chris Pearson, president. The Lakeview center was its only Pinellas location. The company has six other thrift shops, including one in Tampa.

"We've had a long and great 15 years there," Pearson said of the Lakeview site.

Recently, the company has had trouble keeping employees at the Lakeview Center shop, but Pearson said that many merchants were having trouble getting and keeping good employees.

Sunshine Thrift Shops operate exclusively for the National Kidney Foundation, Pearson said. The foundation solicits donations of goods such as clothing, small appliances and some furniture. Sunshine Thrift Shops then buys that merchandise from the foundation and resells it in its shops.

"It's pretty much anything you would find in any house," Pearson said of the merchandise.

Pearson said the store still was being stocked last week, although he had halted furniture shipments. Starting Tuesday, the shop will have a half-price sale. On its final day, Saturday, any items left will be sold for a quarter apiece. The shop closes at 6 p.m.

Pearson said that when a new site is leased, the thrift store will make sure its Lakeview shoppers know.

"We'll advertise in that area to let them know where we are going."

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