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May 28, 2015 | Andrea Meier

Guild Shop’s Ministry Multifaceted

[Diolog Magazine] HoustonIn 1962, a group of dedicated women in a weekly sewing group at St. John the Divine, Houston, envisioned a resale shop where their talents could serve God, their church and the community. With the broad support of their church, they established a store at 1508 Fairview. Fifty-three years and two locations later, The Guild Shop now fills an 11,000-square-foot building building on Dunlavy with racks of clothing, gorgeous jewelry, great shoes, dinnerware, art, furniture and a chorus of friendly voices.


“There was never a thought of failure,” wrote founding member Alice Wheeles in her short history of The Guild Shop. “... The personnel attacked with zest whatever needed to be accomplished.”


The Guild Shop is one of the most popular resale shops in Houston and continues to be a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. It was recently featured in Houstonia magazine’s March 2015 article, “101 Great Little Shops,” and was chosen 2015’s Best Resale Shop by the Examiner newspaper.


Beyond just being a great store, The Guild Shop’s mission has always been to enrich the community as a Christian ministry, dedicated to providing financial support to organizations that serve the elderly. Since 1982, the shop has given more than $5 million to the financial assistance fund of St. James House, the diocesan retirement community in Baytown, and has also financially enriched other local charities, such as The Gathering, Amazing Place, Holly Hall and senior programs at the YMCA.


Recently appointed executive director Gaye Jackson is the fourth person to lead The Guild Shop. Jackson brings a wealth of entrepreneurial and nonprofit experience as well as a heart for ministry.


“There are going to be more and more elderly in need,” Jackson said. To help meet those needs, she has set a lofty goal of doubling the shop’s contributions to area organizations over the next few years. One of her plans to increase direct donations is to have several “Guild Giving Days” at St. John the Divine throughout the year. On these days, the shop’s truck will park at the church and accept “trunk to truck” donations.


The women’s ministry at St. John the Divine also supports the shop by sponsoring a benefit style show at the church each spring. At this festive ticketed event, parishioners, clergy and shop volunteers walk the runway in fashions direct from the shop’s racks. Additional selected pieces of jewelry, clothing and eclectic collectibles are sold before and after the show.


Beyond financial goals, Jackson wants the shop to be “the gold standard of resale shops … because we’re doing good for the community.”


“There are many levels of mission here,” she said. “[The shop’s volunteers] are happy to be there and give the shop life and vitality. Each morning they hold hands and pray before they open the shop.” The more than 150 volunteers, some of whom have served for 30 years or more, range in age from 7 to 94. The shop ministers to and through this group of dedicated people. Each uses their talents in specific jobs—some organize displays, others research the prices of consigned and donated items. When asked what The Guild Shop means to them, most say that they simply can’t imagine not being there.


A wealth of connections is forged by The Guild Shop’s ministry—connections with the surrounding community, connections with organizations that assist elderly in need, connections among the community of volunteers. Come and experience resale at its best—great deals that benefit others!


Meier is director of publications at St. John the Divine, Houston.


Find out more about The Guild Shop at and like them at