Salvation Army is giving Blaine another shot. After closing a retail location on University Avenue five years ago, the charity thrift is taking over the former Toys ‘R” Us space in the Northtown area.

"We’ve been looking for a location there for four years,” said Tom Canfield, business administrator for the nine Twin Cities Salvation Army thrift stores, including Blaine. “It was a small store with no loading dock, so we closed it when the mall was upgrading.”

Most of the 33,000 square feet in the building will be retail space. The new store will be comparable in size to stores in Elk River, Fridley and St. Paul. The Suburban Ave. location that opened in 2016 in St. Paul was the most recent addition to Salvation Army retail stores in the Twin Cities.

The store will feature Salvation Army’s typical mix of used apparel for men, women and kids and home furnishings, plus a smaller selection of new goods (mostly returned merchandise) from Target, Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club. It will have a drive through lane for donations and begin accepting them at the new location on Sept. 1.

Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity Restore still offer free pick-up of donations. Check sites for restrictions. 

The new store will open in November or March, Canfield said, depending on when the landlord completes the buildout for the new tenant. 

Proceeds from the stores fund the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis, which provides free or affordable inpatient addiction recovery services for men. 

The new store is located at 170 89th Av. NE in Blaine. The Salvation Army Northern Division operates retail stores in Bloomington, Burnsville, Elk River, Fridley, Hastings, Minneapolis on N. 4th St. and on 38th and Nicollet (shown), and St. Paul. Smaller stores have closed in White Bear Lake, Little Canada, Blaine, Columbia  Heights and St. Cloud.

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