“The name of this store is Plunder Box. My grandma, Winnie Mae, used to call us little plunder boxes. She told my mama, ‘Don’t bring those plunder boxes in my house; they just plunder through my stuff.’ I was probably the only one who didn’t plunder; now I own a thrift store.
I started out having yard sales to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital because the company I worked for matched the donations. My friends and family donated items, and we had three yard sales a year. We raised $1,000 at our first yard sale, and I was able to met some kids at La Bonheur’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. Soon after, my best friend’s son had problems seeing, but the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. I told her about a little boy at La Bonheur with vision problems; the doctors found a brain tumor on the stem of his brain. Within a few days, my friend was at St. Jude’s, and they found a tumor on her son’s brain. He is about 27 now and doing well.
The company I worked for sold out, and I lost my job. I prayed about opening a thrift and consignment store – I have now been in business for 14 years. This old gas station became available to rent for $600 a month. I couldn’t pay that much, but when I prayed the Lord told me He would take care of it, just be obedient. Now I own this building. An Angel purchased it and told me to pay back as I could. She said she was investing in me, not the building. It was an honor for someone to have that type of trust in me. I had no customers when everything shut down during COVID, but the Lord still paid the bills here.
There is a lot of church happening in this old gas station. We have fundraisers and help the community however we can. A girl recently lost her house and car to a fire, so on Saturdays 100 percent of our sales went to her. Because of all the prayers and blessings, she now owns another car.
People blow their horns when they drive by, so we are painting ‘Beep for Jesus’ on the front of the store so people will think of Jesus when they honk. People have really started blowing; it makes me happy this is for Jesus.
I am not only part of God’s work, I get to see the love that happens here. The other day, I watched two ladies hug outside. One lady drove away, and the other came inside. She had been passing through, looked up, and saw a woman crying in our parking lot. She didn’t know what this place was, but stopped to check on the woman – she had received bad news from her doctor and needed comforting. They made a plan to have lunch every Sunday after church.
We even have people coming here requesting prayer. Tee-Tee is my cashier. She has a prayer journal by the cash register where she writes down names and prays for them.
I give God all the Glory because what we see as complications, God sees as opportunities to open new doors. A lot of good things happen at our little store in Gulfcrest.”
Gwen (in the blue shirt on the right)