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Sheetz donates vacant store to The Salvation Army in Chambersburg

December 26, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. ? Good things come in big packages, too.

Sheetz Inc. has announced it will donate an old convenience store and its land to The Salvation Army in Chambersburg, which serves all of Franklin County.

The Salvation Army will use the quarter-acre lot for parking while determining how to renovate the 3,600-square-foot building as a thrift store, commanding officer Maj. John Brooks said.

The convenience store at the corner of Lincoln Way West and Franklin Street opened in 1980 and closed in 1990, when it was replaced by a larger store farther west on U.S. 30, company officials said

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"At the time we decided (to close it), the Salvation Army gave us a call and said they were interested in our property, but couldn't pay for it," said Stan Sheetz, president and CEO of Sheetz Inc.

While the convenience store chain was removing fuel tanks at the site, Brooks said The Salvation Army's advisory board was talking about how much it could afford to spend on the old store.

He called the donation a "great Christmas gift."

"We hadn't heard anything for several months, and they called and said they want to give us the property," Brooks said.

Sheetz officials estimated that two months will be needed to transfer the land, which is adjacent to The Salvation Army's existing headquarters in Chambersburg.

"Both of the properties go from street to alley, but we're landlocked now," Brooks said.

While The Salvation Army's chapel seats 250 people, only 16 designated parking spaces are outside, he said.

Moving the thrift store from its location halfway down the block will save The Salvation Army $20,000 annually from its lease, Brooks said. It also will bring the ministry closer to headquarters, where needs can be better addressed, he said.

"For The Salvation Army, $20,000 is a phenomenal amount of money," Brooks said. "That's a lot of meals. That's a lot of children's programs. We can do a lot with $20,000."

Stan Sheetz said his company has been a part of the Chambersburg community since 1979. Brooks said The Salvation Army has had a presence in Chambersburg for more than 100 years.

Since the early 1990s, Sheetz has partnered with The Salvation Army for "Sheetz Family Christmas" to provide presents to children in need. Brooks said the Altoona, Pa.-based company's efforts have been quiet, but worthy of recognition.

"They're our neighbors down there, and we've worked with them closely. ... What's good for us is that we've raised the money, and the partnership with The Salvation Army is that they've identified the children in need. We go Christmas shopping for children in all six states" where we have stores, Sheetz said.

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