RIVERTON — Whether it is shopping the aisles or donating goods to stock the shelves of Deseret Industries, community members of all walks of life have benefited from the chain of nonprofit thrift stores owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1938.
Nearly 80 years later, the number of Deseret Industries retail thrift stores continues to grow with 44 stores in seven Western states. The most recent completed facility, located in Riverton, Utah, is ready for customers after a dedication Wednesday evening.
“The work that takes place in every Deseret Industries is the work of the Lord,” LDS Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé said during the dedication. “It is truly a noble operation with divine influence.”
Local church and community leaders gathered at the new 52,000-square-foot building to participate in the dedicatory service. Bishop Caussé offered remarks and the dedicatory prayer, and LDS women's leader Sister Reyna I. Aburto spoke.
“Every welfare establishment built by the church is designed and organized to bless the lives of God’s children, both temporally and spiritually,” Bishop Caussé said. “This building will now serve that very purpose right here in your own community.”
The new store, located at 12449 S. Creek Meadow Road in Riverton, will bring work for 15 staff members and 110 store associates as part of the career training offered at the facility. Associates work to develop skills and obtain certifications that help in their advancement to permanent, full-time employment.
During the event, Bishop Caussé, who is responsible for overseeing the temporal affairs of the LDS Church, spoke on the importance of work.
“How often do we stop to consider how work blesses our own lives?” he asked. “It is likely that the only time we truly appreciate the opportunity to work is when we no longer have it.”
Recognizing that the loss of a job, or an unexpected disability can quickly change a person’s life, Bishop Caussé said every person needs ”the blessing of work in our lives.”
“We need work for the more obvious temporal reasons, to provide food, clothing and shelter for ourselves and our families, but we also need work to sustain us spiritually, mentally and emotionally.”
Meant to be a place of “second chances,” the newest thrift store brings a fresh start to more than just used commodities. It offers community members a place to learn and grow.
“While it is easy to think of Deseret Industries as just a thrift store, it is remarkable to consider how this facility will bless individuals and families,” said Sister Aburto, second counselor in the church’s Relief Society general presidency.
Sister Aburto said that in today’s difficult world there are many who suffer — at times through no fault of their own.
“When faced with the temporal challenges of life, it can be easy for people to be overwhelmed and think they have no chance to improve their situation,” she said. “Feelings of hopelessness, fear and despair simply add to their burdens.”
Whether through employment or commodities, Deseret Industries helps individuals and families overcome the challenges they face through providing opportunities to obtain education and learn important job skills.
“This seemingly ‘small thing’ produces a great impact that can positively impact generations,” she said.
During the event, local church leaders also spoke, sharing personal experiences of how Deseret Industries has benefitted people in the community in which they live.
A grand opening and official ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Bill Applegarth and other Riverton community leaders will take place Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and will include a performance from the Riverton High School marching band. As with all Deseret Industries stores, donations are tax-deductible and will be received Monday through Saturday at the Riverton location. The new store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The store is closed on Sundays.