Butte’s BSW Thrift Store Celebrates Expansion | Local

For 24 years, the BSW Thrift Store has served the community of Butte.

A non-profit, the thrift store has been at its current location, 2310 Cobban St., since 1999 and last year decided it was time to up its game.

With an abundance of inventory, from clothes to furniture and everything in between, BSW officials saw an opportunity to expand into the nearby building that once housed East Gate IGA.

With renovations nearly complete, the thrift store has resumed operations after being closed for a few weeks.

BSW Executive Director Steve Bracco thinks the extra space is a welcome addition.

“We felt the need,” Bracco explained, “that’s why we expanded.”

An added benefit of recent renovations has been that BSW has been able to hire an additional 25 disabled people to work in its processing plant.

It was in 1964 that BSW Inc. was established. In addition to overseeing a thrift store, the organization serves many of Butte’s developmentally disabled, whether through its day program, vocational training, or residential facilities. Currently, BSW has 120 employees, serving 90 people.

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Store manager Vicki Saari is also grateful for the extra space. Proceeds from the store help support seven group homes, as well as the BSW day program.

Saari, who has worked her entire adult life, has run the store for eight years and said the job was the most rewarding.

“It’s wonderful to work here,” Saari said, “and it’s a wonderful cause.”

A popular stop for shoppers in the area, Saari recognized that the store space was getting too small for their inventory. Not anymore. Now even more items are processed and shipped to the store.

“It used to be so cramped, but it’s widened out a bit,” she said. “With the extra space, it’s easy to shop and work.”

According to Bracco, BSW could not have grown without the continued generosity of the Butte community.

“Thanks to their donations,” he said, “we have the resources to fill the store.”

Saari can’t say enough about the store’s customers, many of whom she knows by name.

“We have the best customers in the world,” she said. “They’ve been so supportive and kind.”

While COVID definitely affected the business for a while, according to Saari, customers remained loyal.

She explained that there was never any feedback from customers about the mask requirement or having to queue in the event of a staff shortage.

“People were so kind,” she said.

Saari was quick to congratulate his staff as well. Currently, the thrift store has seven employees, as well as five part-time employees.

“The entire staff is amazing,” she said. “They work well as a team and all take pride in their work.”

The general manager was in total agreement.

“They are a quality team,” he said.

Bracco also noted that the thrift store also offers quality items at affordable prices.

“Given the somewhat limited store selections in Butte right now,” Bracco said, “our store fills a need.”

A grand opening is scheduled for Wednesday, March 30 at the thrift store. Cookies will be served and customers can “spin for a discount”.

“We want to show everything,” Saari said.

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