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Canton thrift shops, food pantry moving to storefront building

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CANTON - A vacant downtown building will soon be housing two thrift shops and a community food pantry.

James M. Snell, a Potsdam businessman, expects to close by the end of this month on a purchase offer he made for 7, 9 Main St.,

The two-story building is owned by Donald E. Noble, Delta Junction, Ark., and most recently housed Gray & Gray Certified Public Accountants.

The first-floor provides 3,750 square-feet of space. About half will be rented to the St. Vincent de Paul, an affiliate of Canton’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where Mr. Snell serves as a deacon. The organization is run by volunteers who collect clothing donations and operate a thrift store.

The remaining half will be rented to Canton’s Church & Community Program, which operates a thrift shop and a large food pantry. The organizations will both be on the first floor, have separate entrances and be divided by a wall. They will share a kitchenette.

Through his work as a deacon, Mr. Snell has been involved with trying to help St. Vincent de Paul find a new location for the store. He was also aware that Church & Community needed to find a new space before its rental lease expires this spring on the second floor space it rents from NYSARC.

“They both desperately need a space,” Mr. Snell said. “I would not have done this if the need was not there,”

Mr. Snell rents several building spaces in Potsdam, but this will be his first Canton site.

He is hoping that both agencies can move into the building by Feb. 1.

The building has an elevator to the upstairs and Mr. Snell would like to find tenants to rent that space.

He declined to disclose the purchase price. The building is assessed at $190,000 and annual property taxes in 2012 amount to $7,890, according to St. Lawrence County’s Real Property Tax Office.

The corner site, intersection of Riverside Drive and Main Street, offers a large storefront window and free parking behind the building. It’s also a few blocks from to the senior citizen housing complex on Riverside Drive.

Catherine E. Mathews, director of the Church & Community Program, said she’s pleased that a downtown location was secured to serve the growing number of people turning to her agency for food and other assistance.

Being on the first floor space will make food deliveries easier and the large window will be ideal for displaying clothing and other items, she said.

“The location is incredible,” Ms. Mathews said.

The Church & Community Program has agreed to pay $1,300 a month rent, which is the same as it pays now, she said.

Until a few months ago St. Vincent de Paul operated a clothing thrift store on Court Street, but the Catholic parish wants to sell that building. For many years the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop was housed on Powers Street.

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