Johnson’s Trading Post on Highway 411 in Odenville, just celebrated its one-year anniversary. This is a landmark that the owner at Johnson’s Trading Post feels blessed to have been able to make. After going into business at one of the worst economic times in history, the trading post is glad to be a survivor.

Owner Kim Johnson said that one of the reasons that the trading post has flourished during this difficult economic crisis is due to the large variety of merchandise that they provide. The store is comprised of a variety of items including clothing, sports cards, Christmas items, housewares, antiques, collectibles, artwork, handmade items, new purses, jewelry, toys and everything in between. The trading post is able to keep such a large variety of merchandise because they rent out booths to vendors. Each little area in the shop belongs to a different person and, according to the owner, Kim Johnson, which is what makes the store so much fun—because it changes daily.

Kim is no stranger to a store environment. Although she worked 16 years at a bank before she opened the trading post, she was raised in the service atmosphere. She is a fourth generation storeowner, and has been brought up to understand the importance of customer service. Her grandmother, Mary Hardy, ran Mary Hardy’s Grocery Store and Flea Market in Branchville for 37 years, and other stores all of her life. Her great- grandfather, Artis Bowlin, and his father actually had a “rolling store” where they delivered merchandise over the mountain to customers who could not make it to their store. Her mother and sister run Gloria’s Arrangements and her aunt runs April’s Flowers, both in Odenville.

Her father, Kenneth Tipton, ran a San-Ann service station in Odenville for many years also. This upbringing has allowed Kim to benefit from all of her family’s experience, and to pass on these benefits to her customers.

She said that she feels that the economic crunch has not affected her business like so many other businesses because people can still come in and find affordable merchandise that they can use. “When times are tight, people want to be able to buy something they can use at a good price. There are not many places that you can still go in and buy a good pair of name-brand jeans for $1 or an entire dress outfit for $3. We have new gift items and handmade merchandise also, so that anyone can find a nice but affordable gift for any occasion. We also try to offer special extras to our customers like free gift wrapping, and flexible hours.”

Even though there are guaranteed hours, customers are welcome anytime the truck is parked out front-regardless of the time. “We have even had people come in and shop at midnight while we were cleaning up after the auction,” Kim said. “My motto is: If I am here—you are welcome.”

She continued, “The community has been a great supporter of our business and we really appreciate everything that has been done for us over the past year, we feel like our vendors and customer are family to us.”

The trading post is not just a mercantile, it also has an auction and trade days. Just recently the trading post expanded and leased the rock building next to them for their auction and trade days. According to Kim, the economic crunch not only affects businesses, but it also affects small churches and other community events. By leasing the rock building, we were able to expand our business, and help to lower the rent for the church that was already using the building.

“It’s like ‘building share,’” she said. “We rented the building, and it helped us to expand and meet a need that we had. Then we rented the same building on days that we were not using to the church for an amount that they could afford to pay. God blessed us both.”

The rock building is an auction house the first and third Saturday of every month at 7 p.m. and the trading post has trade days on the first Saturday each month at 7 a.m. The building was also for a time a church every Thursday and Sunday for Shadow of the Cross Christian Church. “It worked great for all of us,” Kim says.

The trading post is held a celebration on November 15 in honor of the community that has supported them this year. Kim would like to thank everyone for their continued support in the years to come.

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