The Store Next Door changes for the better.

The Store Next Door at 311 South Main has new hours – open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., according to manager Patty Fox.
“We want to be sure we have new items out every weekend to give shoppers something to look forward to,” Fox said.
Thursdays will be a workday for volunteers to pull items that have been displayed for more than three months and update the racks and displays with newly-donated items.
Fox has been manager of The Store Next Door since Youth Core Ministries with Pratt headquarters at the adjacent Barron Theatre purchased the enterprise from South Wind Hospice, Inc., last February.
Until a recruitment meeting in August enlisted close to a dozen adult volunteers, Fox said she and an enthusiastic group of teens and pre-teens handled the bulk of sorting donating items and putting them on display.
Currently, there are about a dozen adult volunteers actively involved, helping with sorting, displaying and ringing up sales.
“I’m so grateful for the new volunteers and hoping for more,” Fox said. “And the kids still come and help, too, and that’s great for them and us.”
The recently-enlisted cadre of adult volunteers includes Jaime Ackerman, Anita Mills, Suzanne Hageman, Sherry Hemphill, Marsha Stineman, Abigail Skiles, Jackie Lee and Paul Hayes.
“Paul does a lot of running around for us,” Fox said. “Things that don’t sell here, we donate to charities in Wichita who are grateful to get them and Paul helps handle that, among other things he does to help out.”
Ackerman is enthusiastic about her new volunteer activity.
“I love being down here. It’s become my home-away-from-home,” Ackerman said. “I’m meeting new people. Having a great time.”
Fox said she has hopes to open the store more days in the future as the volunteer base expands.
With about 2200 square feet of upstairs display space and another 1100 square feet downstairs, The Store Next Door gives shoppers a lot of choices, from clothes and shoes, appliances and kitchen tools and dishes, to home décor and furniture.
Currently, there are lots of Halloween-themed items.
Store Next Door showcases items on its Facebook page as well.
The store relies totally on donations, Fox said. Items must be boxed and are accepted at the back door during open hours of 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Fox had this to say about donations – “We need them and want them, but if it’s something you wouldn’t give to a friend, we probably can’t use it either. What we need is good quality, clean merchandise that we can offer to the community at a low price.”
Alongside the adult volunteers, the teens and pre-teens are an integral part of the Store Next Door activities.
“We’re a business raising funds for a ministry, while also teaching job skills to youth who volunteer,” Fox said. “These kids are gaining some tremendous job skills!”.
Sometimes people just drop by and that delights Fox as well.
“We’re a ministry first,” Fox said. “I’m a hugger and sometimes that’s just what someone needs.”
Currently, The Store Next Door has an arrangement of furniture near the entrance.
It’s all for sale, except for one overstuffed arm chair that is reserved for anyone wanting to drop by and sit a spell.
“We’re ready to love on any person who comes in the door,” Fox said.