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'Thrift Trader' owner in coma, stores close

Owner of San Diego chain Thrift Trader in coma after trian accident.
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A local business owner and community supporter remains comatose after he was struck by a train late last month near Little Italy.

Jeff Clark owns the Thrift Trader, a local business landmark that is not only known for its great deals on gently used items, but that its proprietor is always willing to give someone a helping hand when they need it.

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department reports that Clark was standing dangerously close to rail lines looking down at his cell phone on June 24 near W Hawthorne Street and California Street.

He did not notice an approaching Amtrak train and was seriously injured when the train could not stop in time and struck him.   

Staff members said Clark went into a coma following the accident and remains in one today.

As a result of his absence the stores in Pacific Beach, Hillcrest and North Park closed last Monday, say employees.

Clark was known for taking a chance on people who were down on their luck. Employee Brian Weibel said Clark gave him a job when he didn’t have one. 

Friend and previous co-worker Jonathan Nordeman said, "I hope he can make a full recovery and get back at it. He was doing what he loves to do. He loves his business and his music.”

Music was the impetus of the popular second-hand store. Back in the 80’s Clark opened the Music Trader. After selling that chain, he began the Thrift Trader.

The community is feeling the loss of the stores reports NBC 7.

"Him just being such a generous person, they're going to miss him being there. He’s taken in people hard on their luck, giving them jobs," said Nordeman.

Employees say that Clark had a tough year health-wise, suffering a stroke which affected his left eye.

Nothing can be concluded at this time that the vision impediment was a factor in the accident.