That may well be the understatement of the year.
The ARK is a ministry of and benefits The Center for Hope Counseling Service in Fort Oglethorpe and has recently moved to their new location in the Battlefield Centre, two doors down from Hamrick's, across for Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School.
The store is open Mondays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Stevens said the new location offers much more room to conduct business, such as sorting, storage and the display of more items.
In her three years with the store, Stevens says it has grown tremendously. She started out as a volunteer before taking on the role of manager.
The thrift store helps victims who have been burned out of their homes, evicted by tornadoes, those who have suffered a loss of a job, and displaced family members.
"We have a voucher program to help these people,” Stevens said. “Following an interview we determine their need basis and the number of family members affected."
"We do wonders for those people who lost it all. I see people every day who have nothing and they bring their kids in. We are here for those folks."
Whether they come from Walker or Catoosa counties, The ARK is there for them.
On the thrift store side of things, Stevens said, "Where else can you get a pair of jeans or slacks for $2?"
Most items run from 50 cents to $8. The $8 items include Yacoubian Brothers men's suits — a bargain at that price.
Shoes and slippers go for $3. Skirts and shirts go for $2. Children's clothing goes for $1 for an item, or two items for $1 in sizes infant through age 3 (toddler).
Stevens said everyone in the community donates and their needs — and what is available — usually spreads by word of mouth.
The Center for Hope is self-described as providing “the professional tools necessary to stabilize the mental well-being and return the self-esteem of those seeking help. Professional, credentialed, multi-specialized counselors, community leaders and pastoral counselors help to empower those who need direction in this challenging world."
"We have a series of specials each month," said Stevens.
Those specials are:
· The first Tuesday of each month is Senior Day; anyone 55 or older receives a 25-percent discount.
· The second Friday of the month is "Fill a Bag Friday." Anyone can fill a bag with clothing items for a flat fee of $5.
· The third Wednesday of the month is BOGO day, when the purchase of one full-price item earns the buyer a second item of equal or lesser value for half-price.
· The last Saturday of each month is Super Saturday, when everything in the store receives a 20-percent discount.
Oct. 30 will see the fourth annual Center for Hope golf tournament at Windstone Golf Club. The tournament is a four-person select shot format with a blind draw to dictate the flights.