On Sunday evening, April 7th, the sky lit up as The Thrifty Irishman Thrift Store building at 2226 E. Butler Street in Port Richmond burned. The massive fire burned for many hours, destroying the popular thrift store with damages estimated at over $2 Million. An estimated 150 firefighters worked on the 4-alarm blaze of the 60,000 square foot building.
On Friday, April 19th, just after it was announced that a suspect was arrested for starting the fire, the Juniata News stopped in to see Robert McCormac, owner of the store. Arrested was Joseph Wolbert, 65, of Philadelphia, charged with arson and other offenses.
The Thrifty Irishman has been a member of the community for over 5 years. Originally located on the 3200 block of Cedar Street when it opened in 2013, the store relocated to Butler Street in 2016, offering clothes for the entire family, furniture for every room of the house, decorations, and much more.
McCormac and his staff hold annual Toy Giveaways at Christmastime and Coat Giveaways in the winter, endearing them to the neighborhood, and especially to those who need a helping hand. He’s said many times that he never turns away someone in need.
While things look bleak, McCormac seemed to have one thing on his mind last Friday — rebuilding. He pointed to a small storage area that he plans to rehab first, opening up ASAP to start serving the public again. While it was a quick visit by the Juniata News to allow him to get back to cleaning up, McCormac said “I’ll be back. I’ll be back. You can put that in writing.”