Facelift for historic Rice Street building

LIHUE — The Salvation Army Thrift Store is getting a facelift.

“I really wanted to clean, reorganize and purge,” said Lisa DiNorscio, manager.

DiNorscio, who has been running the store since June, said the cleanup has been on-going since she started her job.

Changes to the 30,000-square-foot property on Rice Street includes a men’s and women’s boutique, fixing leaks and covering holes. But the biggest undertaking was clearing out the storage room, which had been neglected.

“We’re putting anything and everything out,” DiNorscio said. The back of the room used to be piled high with bags of clothes, boxes of books and old electronics. But slowly, over the course of five months, those piles have gotten smaller.

DiNorscio and assistant manager, Lisa Bancone, said they’ve found a number of hidden treasures in the piles of donations.

“We have an antique Singer sewing machine from the 1930s,” DiNorscio said. “I had someone test it out, and it works perfectly.”

The machine is being sold for $225.

“It’s pricey, but it’s also beautiful,” DiNorscio said.

Other finds include oil paintings, Persian rugs, chandelier lamps and a Brahmin purse. DiNorscio is also working to raise the standard of items donated to the store.

“We don’t want rubbish,” she said. “We want the best of the best, and there’s a lot of quality things here.”

Bancone said customers have noticed the difference.

“It’s a community thrift store, and everyone likes to shop in a clean and organized atmosphere,” she said.

Rafael Escalera, divisional director of retail operations for The Salvation Army, also recgonized DiNorscio and Bacone’s efforts. “They really have a heart for the store and want it to look the very best it can for customers,” he said.

The building, which was bought in 2004, is on the market for $1.9 million.

Officials are still looking for the right owner and until then, DiNorscio plans to continue making it shine.

“We’re going to bring all the goodies to the front,” she said.

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