BOISE -- The Vets 4 Success thrift store was terribly damaged in a fire last year. But now, it is back, and it is bigger and better than ever -- thanks to community donations.
The non-profit store's goal is to hire, and support returning veterans and their family members. And just last week the new location at 10321 W. Fairview Avenue in Boise opened for business.
My whole family is military going all the way back, explained store manager Beth Amar. My father, my grandfather, my uncles, my cousins.
She is proud to work at a place where she is making a difference in the lives of our veterans. But that almost didn't happen.
It's hard to imagine, said Robert Gillespie, executive director. You come to work one morning and the place is on fire.
In August of 2010, a fire started at the Vietnamese restaurant, next door to the original Vets 4 Success store.
It spread from their location into ours, Gillespie remembers.
After all the hard work it took to get the first thrift store up and running, it was destroyed. But the small group of people who made the store a reality the first time, did it again.
It has been just more than one year, and thanks to community support, donations, and a great deal on a lease, the store is back open.
What makes this thrift store so special is it's mission.
It's definitely the cause, I mean, just helping our veterans, explained Chief Operating Officer Justin O'Dell. We're here to provide employment and support to military members and their families.
Most of us are going to shop anyway, so having the double benefit of not only being able to get what we need at a reasonable price but being able to use that money to help someone else. Every dollar they spend is 100 percent to provide jobs, help, care packages, training, whatever it is we can do, said Amar.
The staff is hoping for big success, so they can help struggling military families on every level.
If they need food, clothing, if they need appliances, if they need help, shelter, whatever it is that they need, we just want to provide it, said Amar.
Debbie Busey was one of the store's first shoppers.
My husband's a vet, my father's a vet, my oldest brother is a vet, said Debbie Busey, who feels good about shopping at Vets 4 Success. Mainly it's because the stuff goes right back to the vets, and that's very important to me because these guys give everything to this country and they don't get enough back.
Now that the store is back up and running, it needs your tax deductible donations.
For Beth Amar, this job is more than just a paycheck, it is a way to give back.
After I've watched my whole family give, after I've watched how some have suffered for doing that, it has really put a soft spot in my heart for our vets that are coming home, said Amar.
For more information on how you can get involved with Vets for Success, visit their web site.