Nearly 80 years after the first Deseret Industries was founded in 1938, the Church’s 44th Deseret Industries store is ready for customers after its dedication by Church leaders on Oct. 25.
The new 52,000-square-foot facility located in Riverton, Utah, comes as a blessing to community members of all walks of life — whether they are donating goods to the store, shopping the shelves or working with someone at Deseret Counseling Services.
“The work that takes place in every Deseret Industries is the work of the Lord,” Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé said during the dedication. “It is truly a noble operation with divine influence.”
Local Church and community members gathered to the new facility to participate in the dedicatory service. Bishop Caussé offered remarks and the dedicatory prayer, and Sister Reyna I. Aburto of the Relief Society general presidency spoke. A local bishop, stake president and Relief Society president also shared remarks, offering personal examples of how they have seen the Deseret Industries offer hope to people in their lives.
“How often do we stop to consider how work blesses our own lives?” Bishop Caussé asked. “It is likely that the only time we truly appreciate the opportunity to work is when we no longer have it.”
Recognizing that the loss of a job, or an unexpected disability, can quickly change a person’s life, Bishop Caussé said individual’s “need the blessing of work in our lives.
“We need work for the more obvious temporal reasons, to provide food, clothing and shelter for ourselves and our families, but we also need work to sustain us spiritually, mentally and emotionally.”
Work is a spiritual necessity, and provides a person with self-esteem, self-confidence, self mastery and the ability to become self-reliant, Bishop Caussé said.
“It helps us to feel valued in society and in our families for the contributions we make,” he said. “Without it, our feelings about ourselves and our worth can quickly diminish. The warm feelings of personal value and that result from our efforts are the feelings our Heavenly Father wants all of us to experience.”
Work is an eternal principle, the leader taught.
“Our work, though sometimes difficult, is woven into the fabric and purpose of our very existence,” he said.
Sharing the parable of laborers in the vineyard, Bishop Caussé reminded listeners that no matter the length of time each person spent working in the vineyard, each received the same amount of payment.
“Many of the individuals that find employment at Deseret Industries are similar to those hired at the last hour,” he said. “Often, they are those who have been waiting for someone to notice, to care, to call on them to labor. Many of them are experiencing the blessing of work for the first time. Many of them once had work, but through no fault of their own, again find themselves standing idle in the marketplace. Some may have dropped out of the job market and feel like they are coming [back] too late.
“But for the Lord, it is never too late.”
Not only is the Deseret Industries an important place for people and commodities needing a “second chance,” but it also an important resource for Church leaders.
“This building, the opportunities and the commodities available here, will be a valuable resource to you as you go about serving God’s children,” he said. “He loves them, and He loves you, and He hasn’t left you alone in your callings. Rely on Him. Rely on the programs of the Church to help you. As you do so prayerfully, I promise that you will receive the guidance and the reassurance you need to fulfill your calling in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.”
Sister Aburto shared a message of hope, discussing how the Deseret Industries blesses the people in the communities it serves.
“While it is easy to think of Deseret Industries as just a thrift store, it is remarkable to consider how this facility will bless individuals and families,” said Sister Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.
Sister Aburto said that in today’s difficult world there are many who suffer — at times through no fault of their own.
“When faced with the temporal challenges of life, it can be easy for people to be overwhelmed and think they have no chance to improve their situation,” she said. “Feelings of hopelessness, fear and despair simply add to their burdens.”
Deseret Industries can help individuals and families overcome the challenges they face through providing opportunities to obtain education and learn important job skills.
“This seemingly ‘small thing’ produces a great impact that can positively impact generations,” she said.
Sharing a story about a woman named Katherine, Sister Aburto told of how the woman grew up in a difficult family life, experienced emotional health issues and developed a habit of substance abuse — all of which made it hard for her to keep a job.
It wasn’t until Katherine became involved at Deseret Industries that she was able to “triumph over seemingly impossible challenges” and was offered a second chance to obtain a miracle in her life.
“Katherine was struggling with many issues but those working with her never gave up on her,” Sister Aburto said. “There were times when she faltered, but she persevered and ultimately was successful.”
It was through working with her bishop and a Deseret Employment team that the woman has been able to stay clean and sober for two years, hold a job and be active in Church.
“There are so many that need our help, and when we help one, usually others are blessed as well,” Sister Aburto said. “So, like the waves that multiply when we toss a pebble into water, our efforts multiply and do more good than we ever thought possible. Through small things, great things come to pass.”
Like Katherine, the people who come to the Deseret Industries will “come to know that they are important and have value as a child of God. They will learn that they can better care for themselves and their families, and they will learn how to do it.”
The new store, located at 12449 S. Creek Meadow Road in Riverton, will bring work to 15 staff members and 110 store associates as part of the career training offered at the facility. Associates work to develop skills and obtain certifications that help in their advancement to permanent, full-time employment.
A grand opening and official ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Bill Applegarth and other Riverton community leaders took place Oct. 26, and included a performance from the Riverton High School marching band. As with all Deseret Industries stores, donations are tax-deductible and will be received Monday through Saturday at the Riverton location. The new store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The store is closed on Sundays.