Carpentersville church raising funds to open community grocery store
A local church is raising money to open a community store in East Dundee that will sell groceries and other merchandise at reduced prices.
H2O Church is in the final stretch of its fundraising campaign for Discount Grocery, which would operate as a nonprofit extension of the Carpentersville church, founding Pastor Adam Parchert said.
The store, which would open mid-January, would procure items that a normal grocery store can't or won't put on their shelves, and resell it for as much as half the initial cost, he said.
The concept mirrors that of the existing Discount Grocery Outlet, which is expected to close this month at 220 Dundee Ave. Having formed a relationship with store owners in recent years, Parchert said, H2O Church agreed to take over the location and carry out its mission of offering inexpensive groceries to the community. In turn, he said, Discount Grocery Outlet is donating shelving, equipment and leftover store merchandise.
"There's just so much opportunity for us to reach out to different groups of people in this area," Parchert said, "(especially) those that might be needing a little break financially."
The church, however, has yet to meet its $15,700 financial goal -- a startup cost that includes rent, marketing, lawyer fees and other equipment. A GoFundMe page called "H2O Church Community Store" has raised about $700 as of Wednesday afternoon, and Parchert said the church has received some additional contributions.
"We're under the gun to make this happen," he said. "We've determined that if God wants us to do this, the money is going to present itself."
In the three years since it was founded, H2O Church, which has about 40 people and operates on a shoestring budget, has focused its efforts on serving the community and hosting family-friendly events, Parchert said. By operating Discount Grocery, he said, the church would have a steady income that would allow for better community outreach.
"Having a potential financial base is going to give us the opportunity to amplify what we're already doing," he said. "We're not as much concerned about growing our church numerically as we are just wanting to be a good influence on our community."
Unlike a traditional grocery store, Parchert said, Discount Grocery's stock will look different each week and may not offer large quantities of any particular item. The store typically gets its merchandise from manufacturers or large companies that donate, or sell at a low cost, products that are seasonal, outdated, promotional or mislabeled.
With a special license from the state, Parchert said, the store can then sell those products at a discounted rate.
"I'm really excited for all the possibilities for this place," he said. "I'm very optimistic it's all going to come together."