Offering an array of antiques, homemade treats, clothing and a variety of home decor items has allowed the Goodie Box, located on Highway 72 just behind Three Rivers City Hall, to stay in business since 1988 when a number of other local stores have come and gone.
Having a spot at the Goodie Box has also allowed local arts and crafts enthusiasts, bakers and entrepreneurs a chance to exercise their creative skills while also giving them a chance to make a little extra cash.
Della Hicks, the only remaining charter member of the Goodie Box, said she has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the business since it first began more than three decades ago.
“We all had our little projects so we got together and started a place where each of us could have a separate area to display what we create,” Hicks said. “We started out in one area and outgrew it and eventually expanded to the building we have today.”
Although it might appear somewhat small when approaching the front door, a walkthrough the store quickly reveals a sprawling location dedicated to a variety of items ranging from home and yard decorations to men’s and women’s clothing, books, antiques, and of course the signature desserts that give the business its name.
Cookies, cakes and pies are baked by the members of the Goodie Box on a regular basis. Ranging from hummingbird cake (named for its sweetness and not its ingredients) to wedding cookies, peanut brittle and a variety of other treats, many visit the store just to get a fix for their sweet tooth and end up browsing its eclectic wares.
Visitors can find themselves spending a good deal more time than they might have anticipated just walking through and looking at the various items on display.
Hicks said it’s the chance to interact with those visiting the store that keeps her involved in the Goodie Box.
“I enjoy meeting people — I’m a retired teacher,” she said. “I love to ask people where they’re from and find out what brought them here.”
Among the items she specializes in are 25 different kinds of jams and jellies, and some other members of the Goodie Box crew also contribute their own similar creations.
Although you’ll find more traditional flavors as well, cactus jelly, Coca-Cola jelly and root beer jelly are among the more unusual items on display.
For those who like their treats with a bit of spice, there are several options.
“Dorene (Elliott Zamzow) makes a wonderful jalapeno jelly that is great with cream cheese, and one of our newer members makes an outstanding salsa,” Hicks said. “Ernell (Meyer) also makes a jalapeno jelly that is very popular.”
“I like to make candied jalapenos, or sometimes people call it cowboy candy,” Lynette Branch said.
Meyer said the cactus jelly she sells comes from “prickly pear apples right off the cactus out in my pasture.”
A refrigerator at the front of the store also has farm fresh eggs locally raised, when available.
Lloyd Koeth, a former bull rider, has displays of women’s clothing, shoes and handbags prominently displayed in the store, Lynette Branch sells items ranging from birdhouses to crosses, signs, jams and jellies, Terry Bazan has a variety of home decor items and signs and others have Ducks Unlimited portraits and collectibles, ceramics, paintings and cookbooks for sale, just to mention a few of the items available.
There is also a display of Two Old Goats lotion for pain relief at the front of the store.
When the Goodie Box first opened on April 15, 1988, the original officers of the founding organization were: Doris Johanson, president; Carolina Lopez, vice president; Elsie Retzloff, secretary/treasurer; Elouise Franke, reporter; and Rhea Greer, Della Hicks and Joanna Stubbs as members of the advisory board.
These days, officers include: Della Hicks, president; Terry Bazan, vice president; Ernell Meyer, secretary; Mary Evelyn Pawlik, treasurer; Lynette Branch, reporter; and board members Carol McGuire and Sheryl Ferguson.
“They are all very important — there’s no way we could operate without them,” Hicks said of the other officers. “They and all the members do a great job.”
Hicks said family support and a determination not to quit when faced with challenges have led to her success.
“My parents always encouraged and assisted me in all my endeavors and now my husband Curtis always assists me in my many projects,” she said. “My motto is to never give up.”
The Goodie Box is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.