CRESTVIEW — A new store will provide more than deals on children’s items; it will benefit North Okaloosa County foster families.
Lifepoint Kids Mart’s grand opening, which began Nov. 25, continues 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 26 at 998 S. Ferdon Blvd., Crestview, next to the Tactical Gear camouflage building. The event includes photos with Santa Claus, a clearance tent, and low prices on new and gently used items for kids and teenagers.
The photo fundraiser includes a 4-by-6-inch photo with Santa, for a donation; various packages are available after that. Proceeds and all sales will benefit children and families in the foster care system, Lisa Brennan, the store’s director, said.
The store, familiar to many Crestview residents, will be open year-round. Hours are Mondays and Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
So, how did it all begin?
Brennan purchased Kids Mart from its previous owner, who twice a year had so-called pop-up sales of gently used baby and kid items. From those sales, the company gradually expanded and became a charity to honor Brennan's best friend, Shirley Hayles, who died of throat cancer in 2014.
"She lived in Pensacola, but she was a true volunteer,” Brennan said. “She showed up to everything, no matter what it was I was trying to do. She showed up even when she had a voice box (due to the cancer).
"At that point we saw a lot of people coming in who needed help … so we turned it into a charity and called it Shirley's Little Angels," Brennan said of the moment she and her husband Timothy, made that decision.
Now, as a volunteer director, Brennan and 10 to 15 Lifepoint Church volunteers prepare inventory, sell merchandise and take care of other LKM tasks.
How are sales?
“We used to average $2,000 to $3,000 gross sales in two days,” she said. “Since we merged with Lifepoint, we have almost tripled that number, which is why we rented a building and will be open five days a week.”
Brennan said the organization has made enough money over the past couple of years that they donate items to foster families who can't afford them. They still have enough inventory to sell and provide money for other levels of support.
"Any foster care kids in this end of the county, we take care of. If they say, ‘I need clothes,’ we get clothes. Most of the time, we have what they need or I go find what they need," she said, mentioning one instance where a foster family took in one infant in an afternoon and had to source a bed for the child.
Though sales growth is expected, the goal for those proceeds will remain the same, Brennan said.
“We will be able to help so many more families in this area,” she said.