Located near the corner of 5th and Commercial Street in downtown Atchison, the staff at Sacred Heart Variety Store said that the store plays an important role in the community.
To offset the parish’s debt, parishioners of Sacred Heart school and church organized regular garage sales, eventually leading to the start of the store.
The principal at St. Benedict Catholic School, Kevin Lunsford, said that Sacred Heart is heavily involved with the school. “Once Sacred Heart school and church closed, the variety store chose to attach themselves to us,” he said.
“They contribute to us by donating the proceeds from the store to our school each month. About $10,000 is donated every month and goes toward the school and the students.”
“About $400 are donated to individual students to help reduce tuition for the families,” Lunsford said.
Lunsford said that St. Benedict school is Sacred Heart’s main benefactor, and they have been partnering with the school for years and contributing to the families in a large way.
Store manager Cheryl Contreras said the store has expanded since the early 2000s. “Sacred Heart has grown tremendously and is still growing a lot, and we have more than doubled the business,” she said.
Contreras said the store makes an important contribution to Atchison through fellowship and community building. Sacred Heart provides the community and those in need with bargains.
The business connects with its customers and gives the people of Atchison an affordable and caring place to shop.
Contreras explained what she has experienced over the years at the store.
“We help the community in a lot of ways,” she said. “Sometimes people may be struggling, and they might be single parents who need help clothing their kids. They can come in, and we will donate clothes and items to them,” Contreras said.
The staff at Sacred Heart said they offer different sales every week that college students especially enjoy. For instance, the store holds a $5 “grab bag” sale. Shoppers receive a large plastic bag at the door where they can fill it up with clothing without tags.
Contreras said the store also has a 25-cent clothing sale and an annual store-wide clean-out sale. “These sales draw the most people throughout the year,” she said.
One Benedictine College student, Kateri Torgersen said she loves shopping at the store. “I love going to Sacred Heart especially when they have the $5 bag sale. It’s a great way to clean out inventory and you never know what you’re going to find,” she said.