Youth Core Ministries takes over the Store Next Door in Pratt.
A familiar store in downtown Pratt has a new owner and a new look. Youth Core Ministries’ Store Next Door, formerly South Wind Thrift Shop, reopened its doors on March 14 after an extensive remodel upstairs and down.
With dozens of student volunteers and Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce members on hand, Michelle Murray, chief spiritual officer for Youth Core Ministries, did the honors at the ribbon cutting ceremony that was followed by tours, cake and punch.
Deborah Factor, executive director for Store Next Door, said Youth Core Ministries was given the property, that sits next to their facilities in the Barron Theater, through the gift of a generous donor.
“God gave us an economic development opportunity,” Factor said.
Having the thrift shop provides another method for people to support Youth Core Ministries.
The interior of the store was reorganized to give more space to display items on the main floor. A wide variety of clothing, gifts, books, games and more is for sale. Plus, they have much more that has not been put on display yet.
An HVAC unit was installed in the back room of the upstairs area. That allowed the upstairs display area to expand and the backroom can now be used as a workspace, Factor said.
Upstairs, new carpet was installed and shelving rearranged to give more aisle space. In the basement, a new carpet has been installed to replace a very old and outdated pink carpet. Additional shelving was also added in the basement. More work is scheduled for the building. The roof will be replaced and then water damaged ceiling tiles will also be replaced, Factor said.
It took many hours of volunteer labor and much of it was provided by the children served by Youth Core Ministries. Many of the children were present at the grand opening and ribbon cutting.
“Every child here helped get the place running, said Patty Fox, store manager and Barron Theater manager, whose children were among the volunteers.
Fox said she loves kids and wanted Store Next Door to work for them. Their strength kept her going during the remodel, it helped the kids gain job skills and helped them relate to one another. Fox was excited to see this new chapter in Youth Core Ministries.
“God’s doing great things and I’m just hanging on for the ride,” Fox said.
All funds from sales go to Youth Core Ministries programs. Every Tuesday, students come to the repurposed Barron Theater to hear about Jesus. Youth Core is mentoring students and schools report that grades and attitudes are improving, Fox said.
Youth Core Ministries mentors about 90 students in the community, Factor said.
Store Next Door is not an “on commission” store. All items are donated and the proceeds go to Youth Core Ministries projects, Factor said.