Deseret Industries Opens Store in Fontana, California

Contributed By Valerie Johnson, Church News staff writer

  • 3 June 2015

Church and community leaders prepare to cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the new Deseret Industries store in Fontana, California, on May 7.  Photo by Gail Halladay.

Article Highlights

  • After 57 years of operation, the Deseret Industries in Colton, California, became too small and closed to make way for a larger store in Fontana.
  • The grand opening events included a mini-concert with American Idol finalist Brooke White.
  • The store houses more than 40,000 items and goes through 2,000 to 3,000 quality secondhand items each day.

“With so many new items added to the inventory daily, it’s a true treasure hunt each time our customers visit. We often have people lined up at our doors when we open each morning.” —Lisa Leavitt, merchandising manager

FONTANA, CALIFORNIA

After 57 years of operation, the Deseret Industries in Colton, California, became too small for the needs of the Inland Empire area. Its doors were closed to make way for a larger store in Fontana, which opened to a large crowd of locals on the morning of May 7.

Before 7:00 a.m., people began lining up for the opening. By the time the ribbon-cutting ceremony began, over 500 people had gathered in anticipation. “On the grand opening day, I arrived at 9:00 a.m., an hour before the store opened,” said Emily Barton, a local member. “I was shocked to see the line to get in already wrapped around the building. Everyone in line was so excited to see and shop at this new store, you couldn’t help but feel excited too.”

The grand opening events, held May 7–9, included live music daily, free shopping bags for the first 500 shoppers each day, and helium balloons for children. A highlight of the three-day celebration was a mini-concert with American Idol finalist Brooke White on Saturday. The store’s dedication took place on May 6.

“As the city officials spoke about what having this store meant to the city, it made me feel really proud of the work that the Church and Deseret Industries does to give back,” Sister Barton said.

The thrift store and donation site will employ 80 associates. Nine full-time staff members will help associates receive job training and work experience, which will enable them to move on to permanent, full-time employment. The location has a larger donation area and more retail space than its predecessor, allowing more items to be donated and sold.

Community members shop at the newly opened Deseret Industries in Fontana, California, on May 7. More than 3,000 people came through the store on the day of its grand opening. Photo by Emily Barton.

Community members and employees gather at the Fontana, California, Deseret Industries for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 7. Photo by Gail Halladay.

“This larger presence gives us the opportunity to serve more people,” said Dennis Massey, the Fontana store manager. “Because we can help more people, we can serve the community better. People want to donate, and now it will be much easier for them to do so.”

The store houses more than 40,000 items and goes through 2,000 to 3,000 quality secondhand items each day. Donated items include clothing, shoes, dishes, furniture, home décor items, children’s books and toys, tools, and outdoor play equipment.

“We receive donations covering every possible household need,” said merchandising manager Lisa Leavitt. “With so many new items added to the inventory daily, it’s a true treasure hunt each time our customers visit. We often have people lined up at our doors when we open each morning.”