Mennonite Church breathes new life into big old building

The New Holland Mennonite Church has searched high and low for quite some time trying to find just the right building to house the thrift shop they plan to open.

Scott Hoover, Kevin Stutzman, Jesse Hostetler and Jesse’s young son Dillon stand outside the old auto auction building that soon will house a massive thrift shop. (Staff photo by Tony Baughman)

Church members “looked all over and didn’t find anything,” said Kevin Stutzman, board chairman for the New Hope Thrift Store.

When they came across the empty structure on West Church Street where renovation is now underway, they knew they had found the right one. “We liked the building’s character, and we wanted to preserve it,” Mr. Stutzman said.

This large structure was built in 1964 and was part of the Rawl’s Auto Auction, which took up the entire corner of West Church Street and Mitchell Street. The building has sat vacant and in disrepair for more than 20 years now.

The Mennonite workers have gutted the entire building. Thus far, the renovation that has been completed includes a new roof, new windows, freshly-poured concrete floors, and newly-hung exterior doors. Some of the electrical work as well as insulation have been completed.

Mr. Stutzman said the church hopes to have the New Hope Thrift Shop up and running by late spring or early summer of this year. There has been a lot of interest from the community as to whether a restaurant will be included in the plans. There are no plans at present, but Mr. Stutzman said this could become a possibility sometime in the future.

The store will carry such items as furniture, household products, household goods, kitchenware, and clothing. New Holland Mennonite Church is located at 2539 Old Ninety Six Indian Trail, Batesburg-Leesville.

Story by Anna Long / Published January 9, 2020