The grand opening of the Salvation Army’s Greenwood Family Store was nothing short of grand.

Customers were lined up in front of the store located at 1285 State Rd. 135 hours before it was scheduled to open.  The sight was both a surprise and blessing for Envoy Steve McNary. With a megaphone in hand and the energy of a small child, Envoy McNary welcomed the crowd.

After six weeks of nonstop preparation and setup, Envoy McNary still wasn’t ready to rest.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” he said. “We’ve had people coming for the last three to four weeks and couldn’t accept them, so I am so happy to open the door and sigh with relief.”

The Greenwood store is part of a new approach in merchandising, size and branding for The Salvation Army.

“The store is 1,900 square feet. The older stores are only about 900 to a 1,000. The stores are merchandised so shoppers can find what they want at the best prices,” Envoy McNary said. “We’re hoping this will have an impact. We’ve been struggling for the last 15 years to continue to fund our drug and alcohol facilities. I’m praying that this helps open the door to a whole new way of things.”

The Salvation Army uses the money made from its stores to fund Adult Rehabilitation Centers that support the needs of men and women who may be homeless or have substance abuse issues.  The ARC and other centers, such as the Harbor Light Center in Indianapolis, were able to help nearly 2,300 men and women struggling to overcome substance abuse in 2011. The Harbor Lights Transitional Housing program provided almost 50 men and women last year with the tools they needed to successfully rebuild their lives.

For avid resale shopper Tina Dixon, the story beyond the cash register was brand new. Dixon was one of the first shoppers in line Thursday morning, arriving at the store front at 7:30.

“It does make a difference, knowing that,” she said. “It’s nice to know that the money stays in the community.”

The Salvation Army’s Red Shield thrift stores are always accepting donations. Find out how you can donate by calling 800.728.7825.