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Thrift group buys new space; former Greenfield Walmart now home to St. Vincent de Paul Society

Aug. 12, 2014

Greenfield — The St. Vincent de Paul Society that only this spring received city approval to open a thrift store in part of the former Walmart building at 4500 S. 108th St., has now purchased its portion of the building.

"We're making an investment in Greenfield," said Deborah Duskey, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Milwaukee. "We plan to be there for a long time."

The 110,000-square-foot building was purchased from Walmart by The Ridge Community Church, which holds church services and activities in about 60,000 square feet of the building. It planned to lease the rest.

Originally, St. Vincent de Paul leased 35,750 square feet of space for its new store and processing area, Duskey said.

But because the missions of the society and of the church are so similar in that they help people, Duskey said about the purchase, "They opened that up to us." The purchase price was $1.9 million, she said.

Spokesmen for the church were unavailable for comment. The church plan still is to lease the remaining space between the church on the south end of the building and the thrift store on the north end.

Work recently began to remodel the former Walmart into what St. Vincent de Paul officials said was a store designed to resemble a department store. The store could be open for business as early as mid-November, Duskey said.

Proceeds will help the society carry out its mission in Greenfield and all over Milwaukee County, she said.

Besides operating a thrift store in a poor neighborhood, St. Vincent de Paul operates two meal programs that serve a total of 900 people each night, Duskey said.

In addition, volunteers visit homes of families in crisis and use society funds or donations from their home churches to buy what the families need, whether that is food, clothing or furniture or even giving rent assistance, she said.

The society is training the store's management team now and within a month will post employment information, she said.

But the store could be ready to accept donations in just two weeks, she said. Signs will be posted and eventually there will be a drive-through for donations. People have already asked to volunteer and to bring donations, Duskey said.

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