Fire destroys business but not the dream

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A business intended to do good for the community is now a pile of ash and rubble.  The goal of Christway Consignment was to help those who lose their belongings in a fire or those who can't help themselves.

The charred remains of donations and purchased clothing and other supplies scattered through the building.

"It hurt deep inside for all the people we could have helped," said business owner Virginia Barron.

Business owners Holly Merriman and Virginia Barron found their building destroyed Wednesday morning and authorities with the Jonesboro Fire Department say the fire was likely intentionally set.

"It was very hurtful to think there was somebody that would intentionally do this when it's a ministry and we're trying to reach out," said Holly Merriman.

The two women say God spoke to them telling them to help others.

"Within a week and a half we had a building, we had donations, we had clothing racks," said Merriman.

Now everything that they collected is lost.

"We're probably going to cry some more, but we'll keep working.  Next week or next month we'll have a store somewhere, I'm not sure where, and we'll open by June 1st," said Merriman.

"We're not giving up.  We're going to go ahead and get another building and take consignments take gifts," said Barron.

"A family or anybody who had a need could come in and get what they needed with no cost," said Merriman.

The store would also be used as a low cost consignment shop.  The two women say there are already people in need asking for help.

"In the last week we'd already gotten two phone calls from families in Region eight that had lost everything to fires so we were already beginning to fill those needs," said Merriman.

To replace what they've lost, they are in need of a building to house the store in, clothing for children and adults, hygiene products, linens and various other items.  If you would like to help the organization you can contact Holly Merriman at 870-897-8817 or Virginia Barron at 870-897-8339.

The fire is still under investigation.  The Jonesboro Fire Department has collected evidence that will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.  Chief Fire Marshall Craig Davenport said the do have some potential witnesses they would like to talk to.

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