Marine Corps commander forces thrift store closure at Japanese air base

Marine Corps commander forces thrift store closure at Japanese air base


The Marine Corps Recycle Shop at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, was closed by the base commander on March 15, 2024.

The Marine Corps Recycle Shop at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, was closed by the base commander on March 15, 2024. (Jonathan Snyder/The Star-Spangled Banner)

MARINE CORPS AIR BASE IWAKUNI, Japan — The thrift store at this air base south of Hiroshima recently closed by order of the base commander.

On March 15, Col. Richard Rusnoch notified the Marine Thrift Store manager in a letter that he was revoking the store’s nonprofit status.

“I no longer believe that the operation of the Marin Thrift Store is responsive to the needs of the community,” Rusnock wrote in a letter to Terry Lemus Willis, who runs the nonprofit organization that operates the thrift store. In a letter he said:

The letter, posted by Remus Willis on the store’s front door, does not provide specifics, but does refer to the store’s “current situation.”

“We understand that the current status of the store is the result of many factors, and we very much appreciate your efforts to serve the Iwakuni Air Base community,” Rusnock wrote. “However, we do not believe that all issues related to store operations can be completely resolved with the current system.”

Remus Willis said he was not given any further information about the reason for the closure. Base spokesman Lt. Aaron Ellis provided no further details in a March 27 email response to questions from Stars and Stripes.

The building is base property and the commander has the authority to close the store, Remus Willis said by phone Wednesday.

“I feel sorry for the community,” she said.

The thrift store began operations in 2017, selling donated household items such as clothing, kitchen items, and children’s toys.

Remus Willis said the store donated $10,000 last year under previous management to projects such as a Boy Scout base, MC Perry High School for senior trips and funding Thanksgiving dinners for single Marines. .

She said the nonprofit didn’t have a board of directors when she took over, so she enlisted volunteers to serve as officers and directors for the organization.

Remus Willis said he lowered the prices of items in the store in response to complaints from patrons about prices set by the previous owner.

“The previous manager overpriced everything, but the new manager tried to fix everything and did it much better,” said Christopher Hamilton, spouse of Mia Hamilton, a civilian on the base. he said on Facebook Messenger on Thursday.

“Even if we were selling things for $1 or 50 cents, we were still making a profit,” Remus Willis said.

Amber McClenny, president of the Yokota Spouses Club, which operates a thrift shop at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, said she was disappointed to hear of Iwakuni’s closure.

“These efforts are believed to benefit the entire installation community,” she said on Facebook Messenger on March 27. “This time last year, the Air Force Academy Spouses Club faced a similar situation without any prior warning or explanation.”

Ellis said in an email that he understands that many area residents rely on the Iwakuni Air Base thrift store.

“We are currently evaluating options for establishing a new thrift store after dissolving the current store,” he wrote, adding that the new thrift store will not be affiliated with or managed by Marine Corps Community Services.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *