CHICAGO (WLS) -- A return to Belmont Cragin for Salvation Army's family store.
"I've been coming to this store all my life," said Carolyn Benford.
The store had to shut down during the pandemic, leaving a void in the community for this affordable store that also helps hundreds of people with outreach programs.
"The community was asking us to reopen [and] we really couldn't sell the building, so we decided to reinvest in it," said Major Troy Barker, the administrator of Salvation Army Chicago.
"It's good because a lot of people from the community come here and there's no other store -- thrift store -- close to us but this one," one customer.
The grand reopening Friday had customers flooding in to get some deals.
They are also excited to see their money go to the homeless program, which serves 100 men locally.
"These guys are fighting against homeless, trying to get their life back in order [and] struggling with addiction," Barker said.
The profits made at this store and others in Chicago make that program happen. There's proof of how successful that program is with some employees actually coming back to work there.
Demetrius Mabry is one of those who entered the six month program roughly 12 years ago. Now, he runs all 19 Chicago locations.
"It feels amazing sometimes when I wake up I still get a little teary eyed about it because I hit rock bottom," Mabry said. "They helped build that spiritual foundation and they gave me a structured life. They helped us get a routine."
The need for these Salvation Army stores is already apparent with people showing up as soon as it's reopened. There's also an added benefit of more jobs coming to Belmont Cragin. Some people in the community were just hired Thursday and more jobs are available for others at this store and 18 others in Chicago.
"It's a good thing because we all need help, the Lord help us all," Benford said.