Eighth annual Emporium
When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: First Baptist Church banquet hall, 751 Green St., Gainesville
Cost: $5 adult, children 16 and younger free
More info: www.fbcemporium.org
Hall County residents can find a little bit of everything ranging from their immediate Saturday football tailgating needs to the upcoming holiday shopping season at the eighth annual Emporium at First Baptist Church in Gainesville.
The two-day shopping event will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 25, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 26, in the church’s banquet hall at 751 Green St. NW. Tickets are $5 with children younger than 16 entering for free. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the First Baptist office or at the door.
Emporium director Jenny Burns said the event has it all including pound cake and pies, clothes, crafts, home decor and even antiques or children’s books.
Several attendees look for their favorite booths each year.
Many head for the bakery, staffed by Cindy Hawkins and other church members, which sells donated food, including dips to take home to be heated up for college football games on Saturday.
The beneficiary of this year’s sale is Habitat for Humanity of Hall County.
“We have a huge bakery that the entire profit goes straight to (Habitat),” Burns said. “Last year, they raised almost $5,000.”
Other visitors choose to check out The Giftbox, which offers home decor, purses, scarves and jewelry. Used Barn Books and the Glass Perspective are among other popular returning vendors.
With so much to offer, Burns suggests scheduling at least an hour and a half to two hours to view every booth.
Sponsored by the Heart & Hands Women’s Ministry of the church, the Emporium raises money to help a local charity or nonprofit that specifically benefits women and children, said Burns, who is associate pastor of preschool and special ministries at First Baptist.
“Every penny that we make goes to the beneficiary,” she said. “The church does not benefit from the event. If anything we put money in toward the event.
“If people are purchasing tickets and purchasing baked goods, they are straight up supporting Habitat for Humanity of Hall County.”
Each year, nonprofit groups apply to be the beneficiary of the Emporium’s proceeds. A leadership board narrows the list to five, meets with those organizations and picks three finalists. From there, the board chooses the beneficiary.
“It’s always pretty much been unanimous,” Burns said. “We’ve never had a hard time deciding.”
In the past years, different organizations have benefited from the Emporium. They are Rahab’s Rope, The Guest House, Gateway Domestic Violence Center, My Sister’s Place, Gainesville Action Ministries and the Partnership for Gynecological Cancer Support.
And each year, the Emporium has been able to increase its donation amount to the beneficiaries. The first Emporium raised $12,000, while last year’s event raised $20,000.
“We really hope to beat that this year,” Burns said.