KENEDY – With nearly 25 years of operations, the Karnes County Christian Thrift Center has reopened its doors.

And Michelle Smart, Kenedy Class of 2006 graduate, will resume her role as manager.

“My grandma was the manager here when I was a kid,” Smart said. “I started five years ago as manager.”

The thrift store shut down Jan. 31 of this year, but after being closed for several months the shop is ready to go.

“Everyone has been waiting to bring their donations,” Smart said. “Our regular customers never stopped asking when we will reopen.”

What used to be the old JC Penny store, will now provide multiple items for the commmunity.

“We will specialize in helping the community,” Smart said. “We will have a food pantry as well when we can. We want to be here for the community to help everyone. We have people come in looking for one item and we know we will try to help them as much as possible. I have built friendships with customers and have regulars. I love helping people. It feeds the soul.”

In a meeting last month, 18 people representing 14 churches elected officers for the board.

The non-profit business is already planning on having a bag sale soon.

“We have our soft opening this week,” Smart said. “We are going to have a huge page sale to put out new stuff too. We can help people furnish their homes with linens, dishes, glasses, furniture and clothing for every member of the family.”

The store wants to get back to providing a food pantry, but is currently looking for donations.

“We want to help supplement distribution from the food bank events in the county,” Smart said. “We need donations for the food pantry before we get it started. Once we get established we can get more donations from businesses.”

All donations are tax deductible for everyone.

And sometimes, donations can be repurposed for something else.

“We do donations and we get some that isn’t in the best shape,” Smart said. “We repurpose the shirts for rages that help businesses looking for those resources. It doesn’t come here to end. We donate blankets to the Karnes County Humane Organization for the animals.”

With the store holding its soft opening this week, Smart is encouraging everyone to come out to shop around.

“We have so many different things for everyone,” she said. “I enjoy when people ask me for things and I tell them if we have it. It’s like matching people with the items they need.”

Board member Kathy Oehlke added, “All of the employees are volunteers, other than Michelle. They are volunteers that retired and are giving back to the community. They all have many talents that get pooled together to do many awesome things.”

Hours of operation will be Thursday-Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and the store is located at 110 N 2nd St.

Chris Filoteo is the editor at the Karnes Countywide and can be reached at 830-254-8088, or at

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