The Hope Chest located at 36 N. Lincoln Ave. in downtown Aurora has been a part of the community since the 1980s. It is one of two resale shops that are part of the Wayside Cross Ministries, which is a “nonprofit Bible-based Christian organization that offers life-changing programs for men, women, and children.”
On September 1, Rose Sommerville became the manager of The Hope Chest. She also manages, Sweet Charity Resale, the other Wayside resale shop located at 3450 Montgomery Rd. in Aurora. Sommerville was introduced to Wayside Cross Ministries when she volunteered at Lifespring Ministry, a shelter for women and children. Her experiences volunteering lead to her taking a part-time job at Sweet Charity. Sommerville managed the store for four years before taking on the managing of The Hope Chest as well.
Wayside Cross has a warehouse full of donations that supply the merchandise for both of the resale shops. Sommerville said that the proceeds from them go to “support the needs of people and generations to come.” The Hope Chest offers job experience to residents of Wayside Cross and it was those residents and volunteers that helped the remodel take place.
Sweet Charity Resale has been compared to a boutique by the customers but Sommerville said that her “goal is to make The Hope Chest more like a department store because of the size.” The Hope Chest did not have to close down because employees, residents, and volunteers all came together and completed the redesign of the store as a group. Sommerville said that “everyone was excited about changing up the store and they each came with their own talents to contribute to the remodel.” She also noted that her assistant manager, Alex Madrid was a huge help with the remodel. Those that helped with the remodel even made a custom shoe rack and rolling racks for the store.
One of the big changes was that they moved all of the clothing to the front of the store and placed them on round racks. The furniture was brought to the back and staged like a furniture department store. The swap of those two items opened up the back of the store and added in more light. Sommerville said that “they wanted to make it easier for shoppers to move throughout the store. We want customers to enjoy shopping at The Hope Chest and also save money.” The Hope Chest is also decorated for the holiday season with small Christmas trees throughout the store.
The Hope Chest was recently involved with First Fridays on November 1 and Sommerville is excited about being apart of more events. “The downtown Aurora businesses were welcoming and warm. Local businesses even donated items and gift cards for The Hope Chest two day grand reopening that happened on November 1 and 2,” she said. She is glad that The Hope Chest is a part of the growing downtown and the “unity” that she has experienced within the community.
In the future, they are planning on changing up the displays to keep the returning customers interested. The stock is going to be constantly refreshed with new donations. Sommerville said to be on the lookout for future events and sales happening at The Hope Chest.
Find out more on The Hope Chest Facebook page.