Weekend shoppers became wish supporters with every purchase at a Jefferson Pointe storefront temporarily filled with such items as ceramic mugs and home décor.
That's because the occupant wasn't an ordinary retailer.
Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana instead moved into the corner site near Claire's and Marshalls for a three-day fundraising effort it tested elsewhere last year – a pop-up shop.
The market's inaugural run at the Junior Achievement building raised $900 in four hours, so organizers had bigger dreams for this iteration. They hoped to raise $5,000 – about half the cost of an average wish, said Jenny Boyd, who leads the chapter's Fort Wayne office.
“I'm pretty confident that's going to happen,” Boyd said during the event's waning hours Sunday.
Make-A-Wish grants wishes of children with critical illnesses. About 100 children in northeast Indiana are waiting for theirs, Boyd said.
A local company provided merchandise for the Northeast Indiana Make-A-Wish One-Stop Pop-Up Gift Shop, Boyd said. She noted 100% of proceeds from those items – including signs, ornaments, magnets, canvas bags and pillows – benefited Make-A-Wish.
Vendors joined the shop Sunday with a promise to donate 20% of sales, Boyd added.
Lisa Loza, who began making jewelry during the stay-at-home order, didn't need much convincing to participate. The Roanoke resident was eager to show her creations at Jefferson Pointe and liked the charitable aspect and holiday timing, she said, calling it “such a great idea.”
Haley Annis browsed the shelves during a break from her shift at another Jefferson Pointe store. Her co-workers also supported the pop-up shop, she said.
She held a few small decorative signs she planned to buy as gifts.
“I think they're really cute,” Annis said, adding she liked that 100% of her purchase will support Make-A-Wish. “You can't really pass that up.”
Boyd appreciated the purchases and monetary donations shoppers made at the pop-up shop, but she said Make-A-Wish is also in need of something else – wish-granting volunteers.
These are the people who identify children's wishes, Boyd said, noting that not every child immediately knows what they want. For instance, she said, open-ended questions could help a volunteer learn that a child wants to visit Hawaii and the child's favorite candy is M&M's. The Make-A-Wish team could then ensure the treat is awaiting the child's family at a Hawaiian hotel.
If readers want to get involved, Boyd can make that wish happen. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-215-9292.