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New D.I. in Ammon exists to help people get a second chance in life

Small Business Spotlight

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AMMON — The much-anticipated Deseret Industries in Ammon will be opening for business this week.

The nonprofit thrift store chain first came to Idaho Falls in 1974 and the new location will serve more people in the community.

The 48,000 square foot building, located on 17th Street near the old Kmart building, will house 105 associates and 14 staff employees.

Those familiar with the shopping experience at D.I. know that 100 percent of inventory comes from donors. You can find everything from clothing, books, furniture and many other items at discounted rates.

But Deseret Industries is more than just a thrift store. Brooke Yates, the marketing manager for Deseret Industries, tells the store exists to help people get a second chance in life.

“The only reason why we have the thrift store component of Deseret Industries is to provide a safe training environment for our associates. Associates are people in our community who have workplace barriers,” Yates says.

These barriers, Yates says, include things like addiction, physical or mental disabilities, even communication challenges. Deseret Industries helps refugees who don’t speak English find gainful employment.

“So many people who come to work here are broken. Their confidence just isn’t there. They don’t feel like they can do anything, so how could they possibly be successful,” Yates says. “At Deseret Industries, we create a safe environment where we build them up–in all areas of their life.”

Yates recalls a man who recently worked at a D.I. store named Mo. He was working as a police officer in California when he was hit by a semi-truck while directing traffic. He lived through the accident, but his leg was amputated. He didn’t know what to do and that’s when he got a job with Deseret Industries.

“We were able to help build up his confidence, help him discover who he was and teach him how to work with his new disability. He left Deseret Industries with a job in his field doing security,” Yates explains.

But that’s not the only thing he left D.I. with.

“A prosthetic leg was donated to our store, which is so bizarre. You just never know what you’re going to find,” says Yates.

Mo bought the prosthetic leg and can now walk again.

The new Ammon store includes a multi-lane, covered drive-thru donation bay where customers can leave items.

In addition to the donated items D.I. receives, the store also manufactures new merchandise.

Store Manager Aaron Kelley says they have a plant that builds new furniture, mattresses and box springs, dressers, tables and chairs.

“Sometimes a family might need a particular thing — a bed or a jacket — we can’t guarantee that we’re always going to have just what they need in their size,” Kelley says. “But with products we bring in that’s new, we’re able to meet those needs.”

Kelley says the generosity of people in this community allows the operation of D.I. to be successful.

“We always have an abundance. It just comes in waves to us, and it’s stuff of such quality that it surprises some of our volunteers,” says Kelley. “It’s because people understand what we do.”

Deseret Industries will hold a grand opening celebration March 22-24. Doors will open at 10 a.m. each day. A balloon artist will be making balloon animals for the kids. There will also be prizes and giveaways.

“It’s a beautiful building. We’re proud of it and we’re excited to welcome the community and serve them at a higher level,” Kelley says.

The Ammon store is located at 2885 East 17th street. It offers extended operating hours, opening daily at 10 a.m. and closing Mondays at 6 p.m. They will be open until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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