TOWNSEND -- Antique store furniture filled with a colorful collection of goods nestles inside fellowship hall. From soaps and jewelry to quilts and cards, the carefully chosen merchandise gleams.
Cozy Corner is open for business. Housed in the Townsend United Methodist Church, the store's main purpose is to raise money for local and church charities.
"We're all working to reach out a lot more than we do," said the Rev. Joan-Anne Westfall. All of the profits from the store are given to the Townsend Ecumenical Outreach and the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
TEO provides help to Townsend residents in the form of food, clothing and sometimes more. UMCOR provides emergency relief throughout the world. The connection between the Townsend church and these charities is well-established since the church already contributed 10 percent of the profits from every fundraiser to these organizations.
The gift store, a longhledlonged dreamed of by Lynne Connors after she saw a similar church store in Arizona, opened in March. The store is a team effort, even in its conception. Another organizer, Paula Giardinella, wanted a year-round venue following a successful craft fair in November.
"It was an old idea that finally happened," Connors said.
Together with the third organizer, Judy Bureau, the shop took shape. The fixtures, sitting unused in a barn, were donated.
Other church members, friends and family were enlisted to contribute handmade goods or to put them on consignment. When the weather is cooler, the shop has hand-dipped chocolates. Select vintage goods are available.
Buying locally is part of the shop's values. Spices, mostly wild or organic, come from a business on Cape Cod. The inspirational cards are made by two Massachusetts companies.
Even the vendors contribute goods to the shop to help with fundraising, Connors said.
The shop is testing the waters right now and learning when the best times to be open are, Giardinella said. It is usually open every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and after the 11 a.m. Sunday services. There are no Sunday services or Sunday shop hours during August.
"We want to have more regular hours," Giardinella said. The group needs more help so opening hours can be scheduled. "We're trying to piggy-back on events," she said. The Cozy Corner opened during a craft fair held on the common across the street.
In spite of the challenge of limited hours, the shop is exceeding the expectations the team set back in March the organizers said.
An open house is scheduled Saturday, Aug. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Refreshments will be offered.
The Townsend United Methodist Church, the "Historic Meeting House on the Hill," is located across from the common at the intersection of Routes 119 and 13 in Townsend.