Residents who were devastated when a deliberately set fire destroyed a west-end thrift store in late October were delighted on Friday when a makeshift shop opened for one day.

Goodwill, a non-profit organization that sells goods to raise money for charity, said the blaze at its Etobicoke outlet was difficult for those in the community who rely on the store, including those who are underprivileged and can't afford to shop elsewhere.

Director Joan Green said she felt it was her duty to open the makeshift shop before Christmas.

The outlet that was destroyed, which is located in the Dundas Street and Islington Avenue area, has been in the neighbourhood for about 10 years.

The makeshift store was held at a nearby apartment building gymnasium.

"It's always a pleasure to come here because you always find brand names and all kinds of different things that I could not afford probably to buy in the store," said one elderly woman.

Support from the municipal and provincial governments, as well as assistance from local fire and police departments, helped make the pre-Christmas event happen.

Arson is suspected in the Oct. 28 fire that destroyed the Goodwill store. The overnight blaze caused about $500,000 worth of damage.

Goodwill officials say they are eager to reopen the business, but that won't happen until the new year.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to Goodwill can visit or phone 416-362-4711.

With a report from CTV's Roger Petersen