Written by Kristina Byrd for Heaven’s Treasures
James Jones, CEO and owner of Heaven’s Treasures Thrift and Value stores is the company’s first story being “spotlighted” for our supporters. Built with the mission in mind to offer second chance employment to those in need, Heaven’s Treasures continues to strive to fulfill this as a key goal. Heaven’s Treasures isn’t just a place where you can purchase gently used clothing and household items. Nor is it that corner value outlet store. It is a place where people can make an impact in their community, and a place where someone in need can attain a second chance at life. The Thrift and Value store is much more than just a business. James Jones had a vision, a purpose, and a passion. Out of that came Heaven’s Treasures – a living, breathing story of love, belief and redemption.
James (Jim) is a prayerful man. Over the years, through the discipline of a consistent prayer life, he has learned to recognize God’s nudgings as things are laid upon his heart as he prays and reads the Bible. Being open to God’s “plans and answers” even when they do not line up with his own are only a few of those lessons. Thus, was born the vision of Heaven’s Treasures.
“Never in a million years,” he said when asked if he thought he would ever go into retail. It wasn’t Jim’s first choice, but retail is where God has led him. As one of seven children growing up, Jim was no stranger to second hand clothing. It’s no stretch to see how Jim could envision the need for a chain of respectable, gently recycled clothing and other items. A man of God, striving to live out his faith, Jim saw more than just another thrift store. He saw a chance to change lives and support others through employment, supporting local charities and offering affordable quality merchandise.
“I’ve needed second chances of my own,” James said. At times throughout his life, he struggled and needed someone to believe in him. God provided mentors and people who supported him and this greatly helped him build the confidence he needed to grow. Through these experiences of his own, Jim wanted the ability to give back; to allow those who were down (but not out) – but willing to learn from their mistakes – to get that hand up that they needed to get back on their feet. Through his experiences, he recognized in others the very same disbelief he once suffered.
Disbelief in one’s self can be caused by many factors, including a life of bad choices. And those choices can follow a person, showing them over and over that the world isn’t going to forgive them. Such was the case with a woman who was homeless when Jim met her. In and out of prison, but repeatedly on the streets for many years, she was in a shelter when Jim found her. Seeking change, she needed someone to believe in her. She needed someone to help her realize the right choice she was trying so hard to make happen. With his own choices in mind, Jim offered her the second chance, the helping hand, and the belief in herself. He drove her from Delaware, where their paths had crossed, to a Heaven’s Treasures store and gave her a job. He lent her his own belief and she rose to the occasion. She showed up for work and was dedicated to her job. Over time, the woman was able to go on to other employment because of the accomplishments she made at Heaven’s Treasures. James had said, all this woman needed was someone who was willing to look past her criminal record and her mistakes of the past and simply want to see her succeed and move on to a better life. As he retells the story to others, he says the words with simplicity and humility, because he is trying to “do unto others” as Jesus asks and living in love with fellow humans, not passing judgment on others.
Jim’s vision for his business is an extension of his own strides in the Christian walk of life. Moving forward, he would like the business and his life to honor God in every way. From the employees who work hard and who have been shown grace, to the customers who can be assured their purchases are supporting those whom the world had set aside, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is spread and lived. The message is simple – Jim wants every person to know that they are Treasures of God. They are loved. They have value because God created them and wants the very best for them. He wants people to know they are more than the sum of their mistakes. Heaven’s Treasures is a way for us to reflect the love of Jesus Christ to the world in which we live.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”