BOISE- The Idaho Youth Ranch has around for 65 years helping struggling and at-risk kids in Idaho.
Their thrift stores can be found in communities around the state, and now some of them will be closing.
"I’m really sorry to see this place go,” said customer Gary Wiltermood. “We come here all the time my wife and I."
Wiltermood is just one of the many customers surprised to learn the Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store on Chinden Boulevard is closing.
It’s one of five. Stores in Blackfoot, Buhl, Emmett and Twin Falls are already closed.
Chinden store manager Laura Whitely says people frequently ask her about it.
"That's the biggest question,” said. “’Why are you leaving?’"
The Idaho Youth Ranch says these stores are costing more money to run and they're taking away much-needed funding from their mission, so they decided to close the underperforming stores.
“The reason for our stores is for funding for our kid’s programs,” said Jeff Myers, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “As labor costs and transportation costs have risen, we've made some decisions to help us provide more funds to the programs. We can do that with fewer stores.”
Myers says they want to double the number of kids and families they help this year.
“This is really an exciting time at the Idaho Youth Ranch,” he said. “We're increasing our investment in kids. We're going to be serving more kids than ever, so the changes we're making is not us cutting back it's just refocusing our resources.”
One place these resources will go and how they will reach more kids is their new ranch in Canyon County. While most of it is still in the works, the equine arena is planned to open later this summer.
"We’ll begin doing equine therapy on site later this summer, early fall,” Myers said. “We're really excited about that."
There are still other Youth Ranch thrift stores across the Gem State, so employees at the Chinden store are not out of a job.
"All of our employees are being transferred to other locations,” Whitley said. “Everybody is keeping their job just at different stores, and they're just going to help out where there's a need elsewhere in the company."
“We're doing what our purpose is. Our purpose is to help kids,” Myers said. “We're directing more and more of our resources to helping kids because at the end of that day that's why we're here.”