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Rock Hill’s ROC Emporium thrift store to close. Here’s why.

Renew Our Community soon will permanently close the doors of its clothes closet and thrift store.

ROC Emporium will close July 31, according to a statement Renew Our Community released Thursday.

“Renew Our Community has made crucial changes in the last three months in structure and the direction of our organization,” reads the statement. “These include a narrower and more targeted and streamlined focus in serving the needs of our homeless and underserved.”

Renew Our Community, a homeless day shelter and crisis assistance center in Rock Hill, was founded in 2011. The Emporium opened six years ago, according to the statement.

Over the years, ROC Emporium has donated more than 300,000 pieces of clothing, shoes and furniture to those in need, according to the statement.

With the store closing, ROC will donate any unsold items to nonprofits in the area, said Executive Director Iris Smalls-Hubbard. She said the decision to close the Emporium is partly due to other consignment stores with a similar purpose, such as Tender Hearts Ministries, which has a thrift store in Rock Hill.

“There are several thrift stores in the area that do what we do,” Smalls-Hubbard said.

The news comes after Renew Our Community and the Emporium moved to 546 S. Cherry Road, which also is home to Pathways, a Christian-based nonprofit with a mission to create one location for multiple agencies and services for people in crisis.

“God is truly on the move and we are excited to continue His work in our community through Renew Our Community’s relocation to the Pathways Community Center,” the statement reads.

Pathways will house more than 20 agencies when it officially opens later this year, The Herald previously reported.

Manning Kimmel, Pathways board member and managing partner at OTS Media, said Pathways is aware Emporium is closing but did not have an official date until the announcement. Pathways leaders have not yet discussed how Emporium’s closing will affect the organization, Kimmel said Thursday.

The decision also comes after Bruce McKagan, former Renew Our Community executive director, retired. McKagan also was on the board for Pathways. McKagan’s last day with ROC and Pathways was July 12.

Smalls-Hubbard, who took over for McKagan, said last month ROC will focus on its mission to provide shelter during the day for the homeless and help them navigate crises.

“We’re going back to the basics of what ROC stands for. That’s to be a place within the York County community where those in need can go and be treated with respect,” Smalls-Hubbard said in June.

The new director said closing the Emporium aligns with ROC’s mission to streamline the services it provides at the shelter. Any money that was tied up in running the thrift store will instead benefit Renew Our Community as a whole, Smalls-Hubbard said Friday.

“We’re trying to get back to what ROC does well, affecting the lives of homeless people here in Rock Hill,” she said. “We’ve grown by leaps and bounds.”

When it opened, ROC served about 15 people a day. That number is now 75 to 125 people, McKagan said in June.

Renew Our Community will continue to accept clothing and monetary donations, but will no longer accept household goods and other items once taken at ROC Emporium, Smalls-Hubbard said.

“All of us at ROC Emporium would like to say thank you for your support over the past six years,” reads the statement.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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