Rebuilding begins at thrift store

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Eleven months after someone intentionally set fire to Adelante's Bargain Square, the local nonprofit agency is finally moving forward with rebuilding its Belen thrift store.

In May 2013, the building on Reinken Avenue was destroyed by a fire, which Belen Fire Department investigators ruled as an arson. Last week, the work to rebuild the store began with demolition of the old facility.

Jill Beets, the vice president of marketing and communications for Adelante Development Center, said the rebuilding has been held up by discussion on the former building being below the current flood plain, what building code updates would occur and other issues.

"Adelante has been working diligently to address city, county and state requirements," Beets said. "(We) feel it's very important to re-open the store on Reinken, to retain the jobs in Belen and because the community needs a local place to buy clothing, housewares, and furniture at bargain pricing."

Beets said the donations processing area at the back of the building is not as damaged as the retail space and will be renovated, but not torn down.

For the convenience of Belen residents and to re-stock the store, Adelante does anticipate being able to continue to collect donations next to the construction site whenever they are able, but the donations team will be located further outside the fenced off area for safety reasons.

Donors should look for the Bargain Square staff members and the donation truck Monday through Friday in Belen. Donors can also take donations to Adelante's Los Lunas Bargain Square, 701 E. Main St., from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, or from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Adelante is anticipating that following demolition of the burned sections, the construction will begin and the store will be able to re-open in late 2014. Beets said the total price of the demolition and the rebuild is anticipated to be about $1.2 million.

While Adelante appreciates the community's ongoing support of financial donations, they are asking that those who wish to give go to www.GoAdelante.org, or visit the Los Lunas Bargain Square for shopping and bringing donations.

Adelante provides support services for people with mental, physical and developmental disabilities, as well adults with neuromuscular disease, disabled veterans and the elderly.


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.