In a break from the strong wind and rain, shoppers in Hemel Hempstead were treated to a spell of sunshine yesterday morning as the doors officially opened to the new Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL) shop at 207 Marlowes. The Hemel Hempstead Salvation Army’s brass band members played a number of well-known songs, which encouraged singing from a growing group of supporters and passers-by, while Divisional Commander, Paul Main, conducted a traditional blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10.30am.
SATCoL’s area manager, Julie Wardley was delighted by the local response to the shop opening: “It’s wonderful to receive such a positive response. We held a volunteer event last week, which saw four local people sign up to help run the shop, and there were even more enquiries today. Not only that, despite the uncertain weather conditions, our opening ceremony drew a wonderful crowd of people, and the shop was busy from opening to closing.”
Julie added: “We know the support for The Salvation Army’s cause is very strong across the UK, and it’s obviously no exception here in Hemel Hempstead.”
A number of the local Salvation Army corps (church) members were present for the shop opening. The centre, located around the corner, on Waterhouse Street, held a cake sale in celebration of the new shop as well as to launch its brand new café menu and extended opening hours. Three corps members will also be volunteers at the new shop.
Lieutenant Marie Burr, corps officer (church leader) at Hemel Hempstead corps was at the opening. She said: "It's been a fantastic day with the launch of the charity shop just down the road from us – I’m delighted that several of our church members have signed up to volunteer for the shop. It's also been great to tie in the re-launch of our café menu and cake sale which will support the work that The Salvation Army does with and for those who are vulnerable or in need in the local community."