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For Beverly Bonzo, Zoie Covert and everyone at Springfield Presbyterian Church, this week’s opening of Heavenly Treasures in downtown Springfield is not about being a business opportunity, but instead is a chance to give back to the Washington County community.
Bonzo and Covert spear-headed the idea of the store, which will open its doors to customers on Thursday.
“Our main goal is to help the people of Washington County. People out in the county don’t always have the opportunity to come into Springfield and there are people who need help out there,” Bonzo said. “We’re hoping to reach them.”
The idea for the thrift store came from another Springfield establishment, Dominic’s Closet, which is supported by St. Dominic Church. Bonzo visited the store when looking for items to provide help through the church to a young man and realized there was an opportunity there.
“I was amazed at the people that were in there shopping,” she said. “I thought (St. Dominic) was doing a good service and they’re making money for missions. Our church can do that.”
She also made it clear that Springfield has enough room for both businesses.
“Springfield can use two stores. We’re not in competition with them and we don’t want to be. They’ve helped a lot of people,” she said.
Bonzo enlisted the assistance of Covert, who ran a thrift store during her time living in Texas and it wasn’t long after the idea came together that they had a space rented on Lebanon Hill Road to house their endeavor.
The pair has the support of Springfield Presbyterian Church behind them and they’re looking to return all of the profits—save what is needed to pay the rent—to the local area.
“This store is just a leap of faith on mine and Zoie’s part and very much the church, too,” Bonzo said. “We couldn’t have done this without the church. The congregation was very much in agreement with starting the store because they also saw a need here in Washington County.”
“We’re hoping to offer to the community, a clean, reasonably priced thrift store,” Covert added. “When we start making profits, they’ll go toward mission projects.”
Getting involved with local schools is one way Covert and Bonzo are hoping to spread recognition of the mission store. It’s also an area where they’d love to give back if business does well enough.
“If we ever made enough money, there’s always the possibility of a scholarship or something like that,” Covert said.
To this point, getting the store up and running has gone rather smoothly as businesses in Washington County and the surrounding area have been open to sharing excess inventory to help Heavenly Treasures get off the ground. Dollar General provided hangers, while Peebles in Bardstown gave the church a display case that has already been filled with numerous items and Maurice’s parted with several clothes racks at bargain prices as they begin remodeling their Bardstown store. Getting Heavenly Treasures ready for its grand opening over the last five weeks has been one thing, but Covert and Bonzo know that keeping the doors open for an extended period of time could be a whole other challenge.
They’re confident, though, that others will want to take part in what they’re trying to do.
“It’s hard in a small community to get started, but this is a good location,” Bonzo said.
“By buying here, they’re not just buying a dress for $3, they’re helping their neighbor who maybe can’t help themselves right now,” Covert added. “If they know that profits will go to the good of Springfield and Washington County, that’s something for them to share in.”
The first step was letting people know that the business is on the way and where it can be found. Now, they’re reaching out to churches around the county to find out what they can do to serve those who can’t come to them. As Bonzo pointed out, their primary objective is to provide assistance wherever possible.
“We don’t really want to be another consignment store, because we’re not consignment,” she said. “We want to be here if someone comes in and says, ‘I don’t have a glass to drink out of,’ and we want to be able to help them.”
Bonzo, Covert and the Springfield Presbyterian Church have already helped a number of families, including those who were provided coats and other winter clothes at the church’s fellowship hall just before Christmas. Whether Heavenly Treasures grows into something even greater than its creators have envisioned or its success is somewhere below that level, the aim of the store will remain to provide help to the people of Washington County. From Habitat to Humanity to Helping Hands, there is always another organization that is making waves locally that could use a little assistance.
“There are all of these little things where money can go, even if you’re not making a big-time profit and just making a little bit. You can still help some place,” Covert said.
Those looking to donate items to Heavenly Treasures can do so on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clean, slightly used items that are accepted include clothes, furniture, toys, small appliances and other household items. Customers can visit the store during regular operating hours of Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.