LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Salvation Army reopened its Pasadena thrift store to customers on Friday, with several more across the Southland expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

The Salvation Army Family Thrift Store in Pasadena, Calif., reopened Friday, May 22, 2020. (CBSLA)

The Family Thrift Store, located at 56 W. Del Mar Blvd., is the first of 12 Salvation Army stores in the region to begin accepting both donations and shoppers.

Ricardo Reitzell was one of the first people in line at 10 a.m., although he said he wasn’t looking for anything in particular.

“I’m just looking to get out of the house, it’s nice to have a store that’s finally open,” Reitzell said.

Because it is considered an essential business, the Salvation Army was not required to shutter its stores, but did so anyway back in March in order to keep employees and customers safe.

“Communities are being much more responsible, to wearing masks, social distancing,” Salvation Army Major Henry Graciani told CBSLA Friday regarding the nonprofit’s decision to reopen.

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The number of customers allowed in will be limited and everyone will have to wear masks.

A few Salvation Army stores in Arizona reopened last week. The employees working there have been sharing information with those in Pasadena on how to manage crowds and keep everything sanitized.

Employees are hoping customers feel comfortable returning, because it’s sales from the thrift stores that fund the work the Salvation Army does in the community, work which has become even more vital during the pandemic.

“We have stepped up our services, we have a lot more food boxes we’re providing, rental assistance, other types of social services,” Graciani said.

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