Collapse on June 5, 2013 in Center City Philadelphia killed 6 and injured 13 people

Salvation Army Thrift Store Was Community Fixture

By Sarah Glover
|  Friday, Jun 7, 2013  |  Updated 1:18 PM EDT
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Deadly Building Collapse: 6 Months Later

AP

Firefighters view the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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The Salvation Army Thrift Store that was destroyed on Wednesday when the building next door came crumpling down on top of it, was a popular fixture in the Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood.

 
"Everybody knows about the 22nd and Market Street store. It served a role in the community," said Adam Ehrlich, who often donated items. "My heart goes out to those affected by this."
 
 
Wednesdays tend to be busy days at the store.
 
"We are fortunate it didn't happen at a later time. It could have been catastrophic because it was a family sale day," said Randall Thomas of the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. "Some items were priced half off."
 
Kimberly Finnegan, 35, died in the accident. It was her first day on the job. She had been in the store for just two hours before the collapse. Co-worker Borbor Davis, 68, was also killed.
 
"We lost lives. It hits close to home," said Salvation Army Major Robert Dixon.
 
Ehrlich, a real estate wholesaler, has lived two blocks from the collapsed building location for the past 14 years.
 
"The store was a hub for people in the Rittenhouse Square area to drop donations," said Ehrlich.
 
The store had an intimate connection with the neighborhood. 
 
Ehrlich described the location as positioned along the artery from West Philly to downtown. Foot traffic was common around the brick building.
 
Lawyer Leo Mulvihill shopped at the store primarily for tie clips, tie bars and other accessories. 
 
"It was a great shop. You could always find some really neat treasurers," said Mulvihill.
 
There was a large display case on the first floor. The ground level featured women's clothes, shoes and household accessories. Electronics and men's items were found in the basement.
 
The store was known for its unique accessories. Kara Goldman bought a handbag at the store that lasted 8 years. 
 
"It was a good place to pop in and see if anything appealed to you," said Goldman. "That's the only one in the area. It has geographic exclusivity working for it."  
 
Dianna Montague frequented the store every two months and is part of a community of thrift shoppers who go from shop to shop. "The people were always nice. They had a wide range selection like what a department store would have," said Montague, who both donated and shopped there.
 
Dixon said the Salvation Army is focused on the families of the victims right now and had no specific plans or answers yet on what might happen now to the 22nd and Market Street location. 
 
"I am almost certain as we move forward after the aftermath consideration will be given to the Center City area for another store," said Dixon. "The store supports the community and people who can't pay high price for clothes. You get more bang for your buck." 
 
The thrift store is operated by an arm of the Salvation Army. All the proceeds from donations go back into the operation of the association's Adult Rehabilitation Center. Thomas said employees are sometimes graduates of the rehabilitation program. It's an opportunity for employment after completing the 90 day program.
 
"Right now, our concern is with the victims and their families," Thomas said.
 
 
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of the six individuals who perished in the wake of yesterday's building collapse," said Lt. Col. Timothy Raines of the Salvation Army. "We will continue to pray for their families during this time, and for all of those affected."
 
"When they release photos of the victims, there could be a face or two I recognize," said Ehrlich.

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