Ever since the last director of the Indianhead Community Action Agency (ICAA) left last November after ten years on the job to go elsewhere, the Connections Thrift Store and Food Pantry have been floundering.
According to someone connected to the ICAA, who chooses to remain anonymous, "The store has been losing money ever since last year.” They seem to feel that, "More people are selling their better items on the internet instead of donating them, and with a lack of donations, it became difficult to come out even financially."
Multiple calls were made by DrydenWire.com to the head office in Ladysmith seeking comment. Those calls were not returned.
Our second source, who also wishes to remain anonymous, mentioned that several other ICAA thrift stores were on the chopping block; one being Hayward and the other, possibly Burnett County. Rusk County seems to be holding their own, according to our source.
As of this morning, the Spooner Connections will only be open until 3p today, and 10a to 3p on Tuesday, July 10 at which time they will permanently close their doors.
One question remains on the table; what will happen to the much-visited food pantry part of Connections, a facility that had recently been completely revamped.
Can it be combined with the Washburn County food pantry is the question and the answer appears to be no due to the ICAA pantry has government sanctions and commodity foods and the Washburn County Food Pantry in Spooner is a faith-based organization since 1984 supported by local churches, a local grocery store, and the Feed My People organization, making it nearly impossible to combine the two.
The Washburn County Food Pantry will continue to operate each Tuesday from 11a to 1p, and Thursdays from 1p to 3p. For more information about the Washburn County Food Pantry, call 715-205-3273.
Ruby's Pantry, another faith-based food outreach, still fills the Spooner Vo. Tech building across the street from the back of the Spooner Middle School every second Saturday of the month. Their food distribution begins at 8:30/9a, and prepaid consumers who register online at rubyspantry.org pay $21 per share and walk-ins pay $20 a share.
DrydenWire.com was also informed that part of the decision of the ICAA to close their Spooner site was because Washburn County already had a thrift store, Ventures, and a food pantry. This way, they feel justified in closing their operation. At this point, no one knows what will happen to their 42 other programs that benefit the county.