A Salvation Army ‘superstore’ will be opening its doors to a brass band in Banbury tomorrow (Thursday, February 15).
The opening ceremony will be led by Major Ray Brown at the Bridge Street shop with the charity’s brass band playing from 10.30am and the ribbon cutting at 11am.
This will be the second Great Big Charity Superstore opened by the charity retailers, following the launch in Northampton in July last year.
The aptly named ‘superstore’ is spread over 8,000 square feet and will feature a range of departments including clothing, small furniture, household items, nursery and children’s, a boutique with individual and designer pieces, and a café at the rear of the store.
Project manager and head of development at Salvation Army Trading Company, Nick Morton, said: “We’re really excited that our second superstore is to be in Banbury, an upcoming town with a lot of promise.
"The idea of the store is to not only be a one-stop shop for our customers, but also to provide something no other charity shop does – a place for the community to gather.
"We feel it’s very important to reflect The Salvation Army’s values of serving others in everything we do, and I know that this new store will do just that.”
The café, which will serve hot and cold food and drinks throughout the day, has been fitted with equipment donated from Lavazza and Costa Coffee.
Nick continued: “We’re really grateful for the donations we’ve received which have allowed us to create a stylish and relaxing space on a charity shop budget.
"It’s important that the café creates a welcoming atmosphere for those who may want to make an initial connection with The Salvation Army church.”
Local Salvation Army ministers, Captains Xander and Vanessa Coleman, will be present to provide pastoral support to those who seek it - a private room located in store will aid the ministers’ support work.
Captain Vanessa said: “The Salvation Army has been loving and serving the town of Banbury for 133 years.
"For the past couple of decades we've been dreaming about having a charity shop/cafe as a venue to better build community, so we are really excited about the opportunities that this brings.”
The team at The Salvation Army store are also keen to emphasise the volunteering opportunities that the new opening brings.
Store manager, Gareth Samuel, who previously managed the standard-sized Salvation Army charity shop in Evesham, said: “Volunteering is a great way to gain work experience, grow in confidence and meet new people.
“The new store isn’t just offering retail therapy and a cup of coffee; the volunteering opportunities here, including retail and barista training, as well as our connection with the church, are just a few ways we are looking to provide for the Banbury community."
Profit made by the store will support The Salvation Army’s work with some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the UK, tackling issues such as homelessness, care for older people, unemployment, poverty and modern slavery.
The church and charity also supports the UK’s emergency services in cities and towns across the UK by providing practical and emotional care to emergency services personnel.
More information about the shop can be found at www.salvationarmytrading.org.uk, or search ‘Salvation Army Superstore Banbury’ on Facebook.