An outreach of the Broad Street Ministry Center has reopened with a retail storefront.
Shoppe 31:30 began as a private boutique on the second floor of the center for the women who attend the ministry's programs. Volunteering and Bible study earned them points, which they redeemed for clothes, jewelry and handbags.
The shop is now open to the public four days a week at 1126 Broad St., next to Blue Magnolia. Women at the ministry center can still shop there with their points.
Jennifer Elliott, the director of Broad Street Ministry Center, and her husband, Jesse, will put 30 percent of store proceeds back into to the ministry.
They were sold on the idea after opening to the public for a one-day trial in January.
"Women filled the place. We raised $400 for the center and we didn't even really advertise it. It was just women telling their friends," Mrs. Elliott said.
The shop is designed like a boutique but sells clothes at thrift-store prices. Dresses cost $5, scarves, $2; and shoes, as little as $3.
"There are plenty of thrift stores in Augusta, and we really wanted to do something different for our ladies, more like a boutique," she said. "Some of it was just stuff too cool to put out on the racks, so we created a vintage section, too."
A maternity section, Bump to Bump, operates on consignment. Mrs. Elliott, who is pregnant, said there's a need for affordable maternity clothes.
Women from the center will continue to work and volunteer at the store. After Shoppe 31:30 secures nonprofit status, the Elliotts will offer job training.
"We've worked until 11 every night," Mrs. Elliott said. "There are always people peering in and asking about when we open. How often does that happen with a ministry?"
Reach Kelly Jasper at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.