Introducing The Market at Ministry Village

One morning, Ministry Village Bargain Center Manager Julie Paden woke up from a dream. She wondered if what she had dreamed would be possible. Would it work? COULD it work? Maybe it was just a crazy idea…but what if it wasn’t? What if it was a vision sent by God? Julie’s dream was to create something from nothing. To take space at the Bargain Center – space already being used for merchandise – and repurpose it.

Every person who works at Ministry Village is a big fan of repurposing. We see God give a new purpose to people every single day.

People who have been hurt.

People who have hurt others.

People who have no hope.

God works miracles with people in front of our eyes – restoring hope, reclaiming hearts, and repurposing lives.

So when Julie’s dream wouldn’t stop nagging at her, she did what Ministry Village mentors train others to do – she prayed about it and she spoke to people whose counsel and wisdom she trusted. Soon, she had developed a proposal and she approached Ministry Village Executive Director Jeremy Portmann with her business plan.

As the financial center of Ministry Village at Olive, the Bargain Center’s mission is to support the community by offering items at bargain prices while also providing funds for the programs of Ministry Village. “We have to come up with creative and practical ways to generate income,” said Julie. “And we need to keep our business fresh to customers, and adapt to what local people want to see in a store to keep people coming back. We want to expand our store into a unique, boutique-style shopping experience – keeping our current customer base who love the bargains they find, while also bringing in a new group of customers who want local, handmade, unique and custom items. Our employees and volunteers all love to shop at boutiques, so why not offer that same experience to our own customers?”

Julie and her team designed a plan, adjusting the store layout to accommodate 15 vendor booths. Employees and volunteers constructed the booth spaces out of donated lumber from Bob Price Jr. Construction and donated pallets from Showcase Pool and Spa (the BC’s next door neighbor on Davis Highway), Executive Landscaping, and Pavertek LLC. By repurposing building materials and utilizing handy volunteers, construction costs were kept to a minimum. Julie’s team started spreading the news among shoppers as well as recruiting vendors at area craft shows and flea markets. Before construction was even complete, Julie had rented all 15 spaces, in addition to renting display space in the Bargain Center’s glass cases. Plus, she had a growing waiting list with 29 additional businesses hoping to find a spot. The new space will be called The Market at Ministry Village to reflect the variety of goods and services offered.

So, how will The Market at Ministry Village work? Vendors will rent their booth space from the Bargain Center, with the monthly rental income going directly to the bottom line that helps fund programs like the Charis House and Tender Hearts Caring Hands. And, as is customary in the vendor market business, the Bargain Center will also earn a percentage of each booth’s sales.

“The response from potential vendors was overwhelmingly positive. We have such a variety of businesses on board. We have handmade custom items like crosses and wreaths, people who sell antique furniture and vintage clothing, local honey, jewelry, and essential oils. We even have a massage therapist who will be doing chair massages. And, of course, we still have all the great bargain center deals we’ve always had throughout the store. We’ve moved things around within the building, but all of the same departments are still here. It’s going to be very exciting to see how everything comes together.”

Julie wishes to thank all of the volunteers who put in extra hours and effort to make this new addition happen, including Ron Adkison and Reuben Barrow who were the lead builders on the project.

🎉Join Julie, the new vendors and all of the Ministry Village Bargain Center team at their Grand Reopening Party as they debut The Market at Ministry Village on December 2 from 12 noon to 2 PM.

🛍Come browse the new spaces, enjoy delicious finger foods provided by Hemingway’s Island Grill of Pensacola as well as wings provided by Family Tys Good Eats, and get your Christmas shopping off to a great start with bargains available from the front door to the back wall! We’ll see you there!

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