Bargains bring in crowd to store
By RANDY GONZALES
Vera Haver, who already had the Ellis Community Thrift Shop, thought something similar on a larger scale would be successful in Hays.
"One night, God just placed it on my heart," Haver said.
On April 1, the Bargain Hut second-hand store opened at 125 E. Eighth, site of the former Hays Fire & Rescue Sales & Service.
"Some of us women, through Bible studies and through our churches, saw a real need for it," said Haver, one of eight members of the board of directors of Live to Give Ministries, a nonprofit established in February.
While Haver's store in Ellis benefits the needy in that community, the store in Hays helps those in need here.
"Money raised here is going to help people in need," Haver said, adding organizations being worked with include Salvation Army and First Call for Help.
For now, the store has a voucher program, where once organizations determine the needs for people, they are sent to the store with a voucher.
"If we have what they need, they get it," Haver said.
Haver hopes to help those in need on a grander scale.
"We eventually don't want to just give locally," she said. "We want to give regionally; we want to give nationally and internationally."
The store has a wide array of furniture, household goods, toys and clothes for sale.
"It's overwhelming," Haver said of customers' response. "It's been exactly as much as we expected, but it's more."
Alecia Blomberg and Dawn Radican came from Russell to look around Wednesday. It was Blomberg's second time in the store.
"Just drove by one day and saw it," Blomberg said. "It's cute; good place."
There is a second building next to the retail store where donations can be dropped off. The items then are cleaned and put on display. Cathy McMillin, a board member from Antonino, is in charge of that. Also helping at the store Wednesday was Julie Smith, a board member who drives to Hays from Otis three days a week to volunteer.
"It makes us feel good," McMillin said. "We're working for the Lord."
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Store volunteers also will pick up items to be donated. For that service, or to volunteer, call (785) 621-4654.
"It's been incredible," Haver said. "It's been a journey I never thought I would experience in my life. And I'm honored that God selected me to be a part of it."