After 67 years of operating a second-hand clothing store to raise money, the Junior League of Chattanooga announced today that it is closing its Bargain Mart Thrift Store.
Jennifer Franklin, president of the Junior League, said the organization's lease is ending at its Highland Plaza store on Hixson Pike and members determined that the bargain store was no longer the best type of volunteer activity for the women's group.
"The closing of Bargain Mart opens a new chapter of fundraising opportunities to the vibrant and creative Junior League of Chattanooga membership of over 200 active members and 450 sustaining members," Franklin said in a statement released today. "The decision to close Bargain Mart was based on multiple factors including the end of the lease agreement of the retail space, the need for extensive and costly space renovation to the rented space, a five-year, 50 percent decline in net profits, and the evolving needs of today's women volunteers."
The Bargain Mart will begin liquidating its remaining inventory of donated goods during sales on the first three Saturdays in August and a final liquidation sale, known as Clean Sweep, is planned for Sept. 24-25.
Clean Sweep is one of the League's two annual fundraisers. The other is Tour du Jour, the League's popular kitchen tour of homes, held each spring.
Profits from Junior League fundraisers go to support its mission to promote voluntarism, develop the potential of women and improve the community through the effective actions of trained volunteers. In the past five years alone, Chattanooga's Junior League has contributed almost $500,000 dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to aid children's health initiatives in Chattanooga.