New store to benefit charities opens in Meridian

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Shortly after the new school year started in August, Newscenter 11 brought you a story about more than 60 pairs of shoes that were donated by an organization to local children who were in need. That donation was made by the non-profit effort, "Magnolia Son." Since then, the organization has expanded its reach to help even more people by opening a store that operates differently than most.

The store is located just across the street from the downtown parking garage along 23rd Avenue in Meridian.

"Everybody that works here will be donating their time," says Chris Thompson, who works with the organization. He says volunteer efforts will operate the store because all money earned from it will be used to help charitable causes.

"We want to raise as much as we can to do as much as we can," says Thompson.

Two years ago Thompson teamed up with some of his other family members when they established the Magnolia Son organization.
It was created to honor the memory of Thompson's nephew, Christian Andreacchio.

"The purpose for what we're doing is to try to make something good out of something bad."

In the wake of the 21-year-old's mysterious death, family members say the store is a way to to keep his legacy alive.

"With Christian's idea of giving to needy kids, we want his echo to be heard for a long time," says Thompson.

Some of the charitable causes that will benefit from the store are those that help children in need, and workers in Third World countries.

"We would like to raise $25,000 or $30,000 a year," says Thompson. "We feel like we can do a lot with that."

Specializing in unique items like shoes which have bottoms that are made from recycled bicycle tires, to other things that range from: clothes, to candles, jewelry, baskets and much more, supporters of the store are optimistic that it will be successful.

"We want something good to come out of this," says Thompson.

The address for the new Magnolia Son store is 713 23rd Avenue. It's open from 10 AM until 5 PM on Thursday and Friday, and from 10 AM until 2 PM on Saturday.