St. James Thrift Shop

Anika Clark / Sentinel Staff

The St. James Thrift Shop

The church-run St. James Thrift Shop in downtown Keene is closing permanently due to the difficulty of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the church’s rector said Monday.

Housed in the Jonathan Daniels building behind the St. James Episcopal Church on West Street, the thrift shop has been in operation since the 1960s, according to a written statement from Rev. Elsa Worth.

“Unfortunately, the multiple challenges of re-opening a small retail shop under current requirements for mitigating virus transmission, in conjunction with a pool of volunteers who are in higher risk categories due to age and existing health conditions, make re-opening the Thrift Shop impractical and unsustainable at this time,” Worth said in the statement.

The shop relied largely on volunteer labor, raised funds for dozens of local nonprofit groups and “provided a sense of caring community to many of their ‘regulars,’ ” Worth said.

The shop was expected to stay open for at least another year or two, though its possible end was in sight even before the pandemic. Monadnock Economic Development Corp. has an option on the Jonathan Daniels building and hopes to turn it into affordable living and working space for artists as part of its planned arts and culture corridor project, according to Worth’s statement.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS