Kayla Lewis was shopping at the Columbia Mall when she saw a new store that piqued her interest. The next week, she brought her mom along to shop at Altar’d State.
Altar’d State opened in the Columbia Mall July 5, bringing a touch of Christianity to shoppers.
“We wanted to swim upstream,” Altar'd State CEO Aaron Walters said. “The world was going one way, and we saw an opportunity to go another.”
The store, designed for women ages 18 to 35, sells clothing, jewelry and decorations, including crosses and posters with Bible verses. Christian music plays in the background.
“I think it’s pretty cool that it’s not shunned from the mall that they have Christian stores and stuff,” Lewis said.
The Columbia store is one of several Altar'd State locations around the country. As a matter of policy, each location is required to give back to the community – on "Mission Mondays," 10 percent of net proceeds from sales go to a charity of the store's choice. The Columbia store chose the Red Cross as its recipient for July and August.
Walters said helping people was part of the way he was raised and that “there’s need in every town in America.”
Additionally, the store encourages employees to volunteer by reimbursing employees after they do local volunteer work. Walters said this is because he understands how difficult it is to work for 8 to 10 hours a day and then get involved in the community.
“We are just there to support them,” spokeswoman Jessie McDowell said. “We want to give every opportunity for our associates to volunteer their time to a worthy cause.”
Similar to some other Christian stores, Altar’d State is closed on Sundays. Walter wants employees to be able "to do what is important to them,” whether that's worship, or simply spending time with family.
This story was produced by the Columbia Faith & Values desk. For more stories, visit http://columbiafavs.com/