In early 2000 we were renovating the Men’s Shelter building on Mondon Hill Road. The funds for the work came from donations and from yard sales we had on the property monthly. People in the community were excited about helping get things ready to begin sheltering our clients. Those who could not give money gave us all kinds of items: clothes, furniture, freezers, beds, dishes, toys and more. We began storing these items in the garage area which is the office rooms today. Once a month several of the women volunteers, with their spouses, ran a yard sale with all the donated merchandise. The sales helped pay for the work being done in the shelter building.
By late summer we realized we could not keep having yard sales once the clients arrived. So we located a small retail space on Cortez Boulevard in the plaza that houses the Hernando Today newspaper. We signed the lease and opened the store on October 1, 2000. The volunteers were excited to have an air conditioned space to work and sell the merchandise. Over the years the profits from the store helped to pay for the Men’s Shelter programs and expenses. We kept that store until September 2009 when it was finally closed.
In 2004 we purchased vacant land on Wiscon Road with the plan to one day build our own Thrift Store. That happened in February 2006 with the opening of our second store. We kept the first store opened as a book store. This decision went well until the down turn in 2009. The Wiscon Store has grown and remains a vital resource for the ministry and the programs we offer to our clients and the community.
In November 2007 we opened our third store in Ridge Manor. The plan for this store was to provide added funds for our Women’s Shelter that opened in February 2008. In August 2008 we opened another store on U.S. 19 at Winchester Plaza. This store made our retail coverage complete for Hernando County. In May 2010 we opened a store in Hudson. This store began our first steps to expand our Shelter Ministry outside Hernando County.
As each store opened the community responded with more and more donations. The increasing expansion of shelter beds required more funding and the community helped tremendously along the way. Each store provides funds, merchandise and jobs for our clients and the shelter operations. As the ministry programs grow, our need for additional stores may grow, but not as quickly as it had in the past.