Amelia’s Closet, a clothing ministry for women looking for jobs, is getting an accessory makeover of sorts — the charity is renovating an old garage, where it will offer hands-on job training and food service.
The nonprofit, founded in 2014, is in the early stages of converting the old location of Reox Automotive garage in the Jackson Heights shopping center. The garage is on the side of Jackson Heights that fronts Medical Center Parkway, behind Toot’s. Amelia’s Closet is on the other side of the shopping center.
The new effort will be called Liberty’s Station.
Jody Powers, founder and executive director of Amelia’s Closet, said she always said she would never do job training or food service.
“Never say never,” she said.
Powers said she hopes to open Liberty’s Station in the spring. She plans to roll out services in phases. She wants to offer a café, event space rental, crafts sales, car detailing, a convenience store drive-through, a coffee cart and a cleaning service.
Liberty’s Station clients will receive 12-month paid internships in one of seven fields, Powers said. Each will receive a job coach and help finding a permanent job placement. Through a partnership with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, they will be certified in particular fields.
About 90 percent of the Liberty’s Station clients will be adults with intellectual, developmental or physical disabilities, Powers said.
“We want them to soar,” Powers said. “We’re not giving them a hand out – we’re giving them a hand up.”
Minor renovation work is being done inside the building, but much of the work is waiting on her receiving a building permit from the City of Murfreesboro, Powers said.
The Murfreesboro Planning Commission in November approved the design and site plan for the Reox building, which is in the Gateway Overlay District, a strict zoning category in the Gateway area.
Mike Browning, the city’s public information director, said that the plans have been submitted and should be reviewed in the coming weeks.
“There have been no comments or permits generated yet,” Browning said. “Their next step, with respect to the Planning Department, will be to submit for the ‘prior-to-permit site plan review’ and ‘approval process.’”
McFarland Construction offered to be the contractor.
Amelia’s Closet will retain its current storefront and continue to operate the clothing ministry there, Powers said. That ministry provides professional clothing and accessories to women for interviews when they are entering the workforce, especially from jail or domestic violence situations or other hardships. Clients also may receive a week’s worth of professional and casual clothing when they secure a job. Appointments are by referral only from other non-profits.
Powers said she felt called to found Amelia’s Closet after seeing women at church who had left jail and needed clothing for job interviews. After she retired from a graphic design career, she said that God reminded her of a “burden” to do the ministry.
She said she also felt a calling to offer job training despite that not being her skill-set. She said she hesitated to tell her husband, but when she did, he said, “That’s too crazy not to be from God.”
Liberty’s Station needs corporate donors, Powers said. Amelia’s Closet does not need clothes at this time, but does need large purses, and black and brown flat shoes. For information, contact Powers at (615) 584-9029 or email@example.com.