Meet Connie and Kris, co-managers of The Treasure Chest in Garretson, SD. The store sells South Dakota products, shabby chic collectables, clothing, antiques and furniture. The Treasure Chest is a mission store that shares its profits with charities both locally and internationally.
And although the store looks and feels like many in the area, the “who, why and how” of the store is very special.
Their story began in 2011. Kris was working at Alliance Communication, fixated and praying over a recently vacated building for sale on Garretson’s Main Street. Kris long hoped to start a boutique store- the chosen name written on a page in her Bible: “This and That Things”
She contacted Terry Johnson, the listed realtor.
Meanwhile Connie Johnson, Terry’s wife, was also praying over the building. When she prayed, the word “monopoly” recurrently came to mind. She admitted to herself this was strange but would soon see this as a premonition and confirmation of the building’s destiny.
The building sat vacant for a full year without Connie having stepped into the space. But without warning, Connie woke from sleep with an urgent request. She told her husband, “Let’s go look at the building!” She asked God what the space would be used for and heard: “warehouse”.
The couple explored inside but the entire place was empty- no furniture, hanging fixtures or decor. But there was one sign hanging in the back office with a single word- “monopoly”.
“The sign literally came alive!” Connie said. “I couldn’t believe it. I had to ask Terry if I was reading the word wrong! God clearly said to talk to the man who owned the building. I thought, ‘but it is Sunday!’ as if God wasn’t aware what day of the week it was!”
But supernatural guidance didn’t stop speaking and coordinating The Treasure Chest into life. Connie envisioned camels while praying over the store- discovering later its symbolism of provision- the measure taken beforehand to supply a need. Soon after, Kris bought the store mascot- a Camelback trunk.
Finally purchased on Feb 13, 2013, the two women got to work chosing paint colors. Starting with Blue Dragon Blue, the Garretson School color, God confirmed in their minds how perfect the color was in one word. Boardwalk.
“God said He would give me an angel named Melissa, confirming Connie’s decision to invest in Melissa and Doug toys- known for there simplicity and wholesome nature.
Four years later, they discovered a Bible verse containing the same numbers as their address on Main Street, and providence again became the recurrent theme of their store.
“We took in vendors and so many donations of furniture. Initially we didn’t want to accept clothing but without known reason. Then within a twelve week time, we received four large donations of clothing”.
Connie and Kris received help filling the store with merchandise and workers.
Rachel, a volunteer who celebrated her 90’s birthday in the store, is designated clothing manager. Widowed, she admits getting enjoyment from being with other people and Kris and Connie are fortunate to have her help.
Terry, Connie’s husband and realtor, had an unusual desire to want additional office space even though he already had a workspace. Connie was confused why, but shortly after purchasing the building, Terry’s office was sold out from under him. He and Connie believe providence again had set aside The Treasure Chest for his work too.
Although some vendors continue at The Treasure Chest, they are not expanding their vendors at this time. Donations and volunteers are what’s needed to keep the business fresh and constantly find new treasures.
Volunteers arrange displays. Their volunteer crew is very dedicated and without them, Connie and Kris agree they’d be forced to close. When volunteers say, “I’m sorry I can’t come in today.” Connie jokingly says- “Well, I’m not going to pay you for that time off!”
The Treasure Chest is not a 501(c)3, but the business donates about a half of all their products to local, state and international charities.
Furthermore, Kris organized and currently runs the Garretson Food Pantry located next door to the store. She orders the food, monitors funds and coordinates volunteers.
During the school year, a special needs adult from Minnesota volunteers to pack food for The Garretson School Backpack Program.
In their words, “The Treasure Chest is a warehouse for the Kingdom, based on heaven culture working together to build our community. We support the back pack program, food pantry, community furniture mission, and many other mission projects.”
In our words, The Treasure Chest is an outstanding example of bringing people of various backgrounds together in one place to provide genuine fellowship, household needs and maybe some fun and frivolous things too. And after a long day of working on the farm, and wanting to reward my kids for a long day, their hearts desire is to spend their allowance at The Treasure Chest. Adults from Glean For Good reward ourselves the same way.