While Rexburg’s Deseret Industries will temporarily close next week, it will continue to accept donations that it considers to be its lifeblood.
“We view the donations as sacred. We’re handling them with that kind of mindset,” said the store’s manager Aaron Pincock.
Those donations help cover the cost of everything from workers’ wages to paying for the schooling and training they receive to upgrade their skills for better employment, he said.
“If an associate has the schooling they need to get them into an organization, we’ll pay for their training costs while they work for that organization,” he said. “It’s free help (for organizations) while they get the training they need. Hopefully, it ends up with a job, but it doesn’t always. There’s a lot that is really funded through the donations. A lot that goes into those donations makes it all possible.”
The store will be closed from April 6 through April 20 while it undergoes a floor renovation. Pincock expects that on April 20, the store will also reopen its “yard,” or the back section of the store, where it sells outdoor equipment. The yard has been closed for several weeks.
“It feels like the yard has been closed forever. They’ll be finished with it about when we reopen. The timing is great,” he said.
The new yard will now feature enclosed, insulated walls.
“It’s going to be climate controlled. It will be a lot better. Whenever you went out there in the winter time, it was freezing,” Pincock said.
Employees will continue to work inside the store while the floor is upgraded, he said.
Prior to COVID-19, the store employed 84 workers but currently has only 50, Pincock said.
“If we get more associates, we’ll reopen on Mondays. Just right now, we don’t have the manpower to cover all of it. When we reopen, we’re hoping to be open from 10 to 7, but it’s depending on if we get enough help,” Pincock said.
Deseret Industries is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church’s bishops rely on it to provide employment for ward members in need. They also use the facility to give clothing and other necessary items for those in their wards who would otherwise go without.
According to deseretindustries.org, the church created the first Deseret Industries in 1938 in Salt Lake City. Since that time it has expanded throughout the western United States from Washington to Arizona. In Idaho, there are also Deseret Industries located in Boise, Nampa, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.
From its very beginning, Deseret Industries provided training to those needing jobs. It was also designed to give “new life to second hand items,” said the webpage.
The Rexburg store takes donations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday by appointment only.
“I know the appointments are inconvenient for customers. We’re hoping eventually to get away from that. Really that’s the only thing that’s saved us during this time because we don’t have the help to process as much,” Pincock said.
Pincock says that Deseret Industries can do much with the donations it receives.
“I tell my wife ‘We can’t do a yard sale. We get $200 bucks from that. That’s minimal to what D.I. can do with those. The people they can help with those donations is much more beneficial.’ I feel like we’re helping more people by donating,” he said.
Pincock says that he and fellow Deseret Industries’ workers are looking forward to the store reopening fully on April 20.
“We’re excited to get done with it and to get reopened. We’re hoping that it will be more busy when we reopen,” he said.
The store is located at 611 N 2nd East. To schedule an appointment to donate visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rexburg-deseret-industries-donation-drop-off-registration-107512735486.