PORT ORCHARD — If you were to ask the general manager of St. Vincent de Paul’s new Bethel Avenue thrift store and headquarters about its opening to the public, well, he’d say it was a long time coming.
After a few weeks of delays caused by permitting issues, inspectors from the state’s Labor & Industries and the City of Port Orchard finally signed off on permits on July 6 that will allow public occupancy of the blue steel structure.
“We just had the inspector here at 11:30 this morning,” Jeu said, “and he left at 11:40. Then we called the city, and they said ‘yes, you can open up.’”
Jeu immediately posted the good news on St. Vincent’s Facebook page, and set an opening time of 12:30 p.m. July 6. Within 10 minutes, he said, cars started appearing in the parking lot. Since then, the lot has been full and it’s been a whirlwind of activity inside the building.
“It’s been packed since then,” the relieved manager said.
Jeu said a number of minor issues hampered his employee team from staging a planned grand opening on June 24. An L&I inspector required tempered glass for a window that is within 24 inches of a side exit door. And a concrete landing at the loading dock had a short drop-off that the inspector said needed to be level.
A large piece of furniture now blocks the window in question until it can be replaced with tempered glass, and the landing has been repaired.
Now that St. Vincent de Paul’s building is open at Bethel and Mitchell Road, Jeu said he’ll organize a grand opening once he can coordinate schedules for attending dignitaries from Kitsap Bank and the city.
The organization’s old home next to Bruce Titus Port Orchard Ford was purchased by the auto firm last year. It will be demolished to allow for an expansion of the dealership’s showroom and headquarters.