May 21, 2024

Meet Wade: Store Manager Profile

Have you ever noticed that every associate at Deseret Industries wears a red apron? You might also see uniforms of gray aprons, blue shirts and aprons, or white shirts, which respectively identify volunteers, staff members, and store managers. 

Wade is one of DI’s store managers. His favorite part of work is seeing individuals enrolled in the DI job training program change their lives. 

“My role is to create an environment and a culture where we can help people succeed,” Wade says. “We move a lot of stuff around here at Deseret Industries, but we're not about stuff—we're about people. We’re about helping them to transform their lives and to gain the skills that they need to be successful at other places.” 

In addition to store managers, the DI staff includes assistant store managers, development counselors, and operational supervisors—which function as job coaches. Each of these plays a crucial role in accomplishing the mission of DI. 

“We work with people with disabilities and other barriers to employment,” Wade says. “They are involved in the Ready for Work training program, which takes associates through a series of modules that identifies things that perhaps they have not had an opportunity to learn before. The program gives them the skills to be successful in the future.” 

Although Wade loves his job, working at Deseret Industries was not always part of his plan. He worked in other retail positions after graduating from college before a new perspective redirected his career path. 

thrift store manager in a white shirt smiles as he talks with a thrift store employee

“I began to understand the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how Deseret Industries is involved in providing a place for people to become self-reliant,” Wade says. “That message resonated with me.” 

After touring a DI location and participating in some volunteer opportunities there, Wade decided to pursue employment with the thrift store and donation center. 

“I thought [working at DI] would be a good opportunity to share my skills and talents, especially with my previous experience in the retail world.” 

Wade has now been a DI employee for several years. Although he has seen changes to the DI infrastructure and organization, the focus on people has always remained the same. 

“Those who come to DI can feel the spirit of the organization and know what we’re really about,” Wade says. “We provide low-cost goods to the community, offer a place for people to do service, and help associates make changes that they know are needful and necessary. The byproduct of all of this is an organization that’s able to serve and help and minister—to care for those in need.” 

Do you want to be part of helping DI associates transform their lives? Visit your nearest DI location to support the job training program by donating, shopping, or volunteering.