For more than two years, Jodie Powell and her husband, Jason, collected children’s clothes, toys, shoes, strollers and cribs.
Enough, Jason said, to fill up his shed with stock the family hoped, one day, to put on the shelves of a children's store.
“Pretty much when we moved to Bolivar, we started thinking about one, because there’s not one here,” Jodie said. “So I just started getting inventory from Facebook, garage sales and really anywhere I could get it.”
That effort culminated last December, when the couple passed by a recently empty space at 114 N. Main St.
“We just happened to be coming back from the park through downtown, just kind of chit chatting, and we saw two people walk in here with a ‘for rent’ sign,” Jason said. “We pulled in and jumped out.”
It wasn’t quite the level of planning Jason said he preferred, but, nevertheless, the couple jumped on the opportunity.
The storefront, a former salon, has been transformed over the last two months to Fire Flies Children's Resale, a place where parents find clothes for children ages newborn to teen.
Jodie compared the process of retrieving and hanging up the store’s stock to the Biblical story of Jesus feeding 5,000.
“When we started hanging everything up, I thought, ‘We’re never going to be able to fill this store,’” she said. “Then, suddenly, we are jam packed and there’s still a ton more that we haven’t even been able to put out yet.”
The store held a soft opening Wednesday, Feb. 12.
Jodie said Fire Flies will buy name brand children’s clothes that are gently used, free of stains, excessive wear and odor free, along with other goods, like strollers, swings and toys, which must be clean and in good shape.
The conditions are there for a reason, she said.
“We’re picky about what we take in because we’re not a thrift store,” she said. “We don’t want it to be thought of as a thrift store.”
It took a lot of work to renovate the space into a shop, Jason said. When the couple started, five salon booths still stood in a corner and a back room had been set up for a tanning bed.
In addition to removing those aspects, he said they also had to patch tiling and place new carpet.
Shelves and poles and a shoe wall were added, along with a small, bordered play area featuring toys and a television for kids to hang out in while their parents shop.
“When moms and dads come in to shop, they can put their kiddos back there. They can watch TV and play,” he said.
Work also had to be completed at the front, where Jason built displays for the front windows, featuring child-size mannequins.
He said he also worked to keep the original front sign, which had been in a state of disrepair. It now features a new LED insert, he said.
“The store with the cute window displays, that’s what we're shooting for,” he said.
Feed Store nearly ready
On the square’s southwest corner, a new restaurant is now in its final stages of preparing to open.
The Feed Store owner Mike Gardener said, finally, he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The downtown Bolivar restaurateur said he’s anticipating opening this month after several delays.
“Of course, I’ve been saying that for two months,” he said Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Gardener said the restaurant, which will serve a variety of wings, burgers and sandwiches, is waiting to complete the permit process. Equipment, including the icemaker, has just recently been delivered, he said.
“We’re getting close,” he said.