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There have been many prayers said at the counter of The Purpose Shop in Sugarcreek. Founded to be a place for "new purpose, old purpose, repurpose and God's purpose," it only makes sense that customers have been able to experience the love the owners have for this purpose. Whether visitors are coming or going, they can sense that there is more beneath the surface, once you "blow the dust off" as owner Mindy Croft likes to say.
"Often times we have people say they have felt God working, telling them they needed to stop in here," said owner Joe Croft.
Joe and his wife Mindy are currently working on growing their retail space into the back corner of the store for Spring. Their shop's floor plan allows them to block off or expand in certain areas as the need arises.
The Crofts are a family with open hearts and an open home. During the holidays they invite anyone who would like to enjoy a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal with them to come to their house and visit with family and friends. "We usually will have somewhere between 35 and 60 people in our home," added Joe.
The couple also cares for Mindy's 95-year-old grandmother and they have had a great deal of help and blessings as God has brought friends into their lives to help when there was a need. Sometimes the need is very specific. One woman felt lead to help pull weeds at their house, and it came at the perfect time for Joe and Mindy as they hadn't been able to keep up with that chore themselves at the time.
Joe and Mindy had fun going to auctions and estate sales together, and when Joe was laid off as a construction project manager four and a half years ago, the two of them made the brave decision to enter into the antique business. "I was 57 at the time, and it wasn't yet possible for me to retire," said Joe. "Our faith was such that we prayed about it, and this was the answer."
Mindy had worked in retail for years and had helped her mother at the local flea market. This experience lead Joe and Mindy to start their own space out at the Walnut Creek Flea Market. Soon they needed more room and saw that a spot on the corner in Sugarcreek had been recently purchased by someone from the community as an investment opportunity. They liked that the building had the Sugarcreek Swiss look and they were able to meet with the owners and bring their business to town. The spot where The Purpose Shop is located on Route 39 was once a Shell gas station, and prior to their business it had also housed an auto repair shop.
Joe and Mindy clean out homes from time to time, discovering many of the items in their shop along the way. One home they went through had an entire assortment of boxes containing gifts from a wedding that had taken place in 1944. It appeared as though the gifts had simply been boxed up and put away, not to be opened again until Joe and Mindy found them.
The Purpose Shop does not do consignment or have booths for vendors, but they do have a variety of other items for sale such as herbal teas, spices and J.R. Watkins products.
Often when people first see the shop and then come in, they are surprised at how large the space is. "We sell a lot of items that people use for repurposing projects, like old ladders, windows and doors," Joe said. "We really enjoy hearing about what people have created and our customers post pictures on Facebook and share their projects on our page."
One customer recently used an old block and tackle and an old beam to create a light fixture. They've also seen creative customers using old, metal bed frames from the shop as garden dividers.
"We try to group the more popular collectible items together," said Joe. "That way if someone comes in looking for a specific type of piece it will be easy for them to find."
The shop sells live edge furniture, old appliances, antique toys, vintage clothing, old hardback books, glassworks (which are Mindy's favorite items, Fenton in particular) and pottery (which is Joe's favorite, especially pieces from the Zanesville and the Southeast Ohio region). One item that is a particular favorite in the shop is a toy car from the 1950s, the Slinky Mobile Swamp Buggy.
"We like to mix it up and have it become a treasure hunt for shoppers," said Mindy. "We tell people to pick things up, get into cupboards and have fun."
To stay up to date on new items coming in and special sales, be sure to follow The Purpose Shop on Facebook. Located next to Adreas Furniture at 102 Dover Rd NE (RT 39) in Sugarcreek, they have been known to buy, sell, trade and barter for antique, unique and collectible items. The shop is open year round, Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Joe and Mindy hope that God will bless your day, and they hope you will stop in soon to visit and explore.