Dozens of people lined up outside a San Fernando Road building Thursday morning as a familiar face returned to the Glendale retail scene.
The Salvation Army opened a new thrift store in south Glendale, about two years after closing a Brand Boulevard shop. The new store breathes life into a site abandoned by Smart & Final warehouse stores when that chain opened a store on Glenoaks Boulevard.
Opening day brought Glendale Chamber of Commerce ambassadors, shoppers and treasure hunters to the Salvation Army at 6850 San Fernando Road.
"I'm just interested in these types of places, and I'm interested in giving back to the community," Eric Swain said as he waited for the doors to open.
Linda Alvarado pushed a stroller holding her daughter, Jennifer Garcia, the two blocks from her home to make opening day.
"I need clothes for my kids," said Alvarado, a mother or five.
Major Mark Nelson, the Salvation Army official overseeing the store, said the charitable agency recently closed its North Hollywood location and signed a five-year lease in Glendale. Proceeds from the store benefit the 120-bed Pasadena Adult Rehabilitation Center, which serves Glendale and Burbank.
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, dozens of waiting customers barged in and grabbed carts as they headed toward $21 televisions, $1 books, rows of clothes and shelves full of skateboards.
Glendale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judee Kendall, nearly overrun by shoppers after cutting the ceremonial ribbon, said, "We're happy to see another business open in Glendale. It is a worthy cause, and it is absolutely needed. You can tell by the people who are here today."
Glendale Salvation Army Capt. Rio Ray said his agency is happy to have a local shop where he can send people with vouchers for blankets, coats or other supplies.
Nelson said the thrift business is experiencing changes in uncertain times.
"The economy is like a double-edged sword," Nelson said. "We're seeing increased shoppers but decreased donors."
Nelson said donors can drop supplies at the new store or make arrangements for pickup using the website, http://www.satruck.org, or by calling (800) SATRUCK.
Opening weekend includes drawings for gift cards and gas cards, as well as a 1997 Nissan Altima.
"It's not a great car, but it's a free car," Nelson said.