KNOXVILLE— Down on Merchants Drive in North Knoxville exists a thrift store by the name of KARM, and within that particular thrift store April Pedigo spends some of her time. A middle-aged woman with dark hair and deep brown eyes, April works at the front desk register at KARM. However, no one would ever guess that just a few years ago she worked as a jewelry merchandiser in Las Vegas, Nev.
To some, living in Las Vegas is a dream come true, a real life Disneyland for adults. For others, home will always be here in the South, and that was the case for April. When deeply thinking about her family needs and where she wanted to be in her faith, she came to the conclusion that Knoxville, Tennessee was where she was meant to be.
That one decision ended up changing April’s life entirely.
It was a bright and beautiful morning as April walked into KARM Thrift Store 6 months ago, just hoping to find a job with good pay. To her surprise, she came away with much more. Her and her fiancé had shopped often at KARM for their family in the past, so she was familiar with the store.
“Something told me to pick up an application that day, and I did.” April said.
April was a high school graduate from Kingston, TN, so it was not difficult for her to pick up life where she had left it. But it was not an easy endeavor leaving her life in Vegas behind.
Back in Vegas, April worked under a Larimar Jewelry designer whose top client was often Princess Cruise Line. Through her work, April would pick out variations of different jewelry that clients, such as Princess Cruise Line, would appreciate, and then send it in for them to choose over. April also helped update the website for the designer she worked under.
To April, Las Vegas was a “culture shock.”
However, she knew that the exciting and stimulating lifestyle she held in Vegas would not be adaptable for her family. “[I] didn’t want my kids going to school in Las Vegas,” April said.
April has two daughters, Autumn Grace and Ariana Faith, and she states that moving back to Tennessee was the right move for them.
Her spunky and courageous spirit did not leave her side, though, when she flew back to the South. At KARM, she feels like she can be her individual self without being judge.
At KARM Thrift Store, which is a Christian establishment, ministry opportunities are everywhere. Staying true to the organizations mission, April said she sees ministry opportunities everyday at KARM.
April explains herself as being a talkative person, and her role in KARM being at the front desk register ties in well with her social merits. “I really like the fact that you do build relationships here with the customers,” April commented. “If we can just have a heart of Christ with everybody, no matter what [the situation is], love will always concur.”
Revenue that KARM Thrift Store generates goes to fund Knoxville Area Rescue Ministry, which helps the homeless and those who have fallen under drug addictions. For every purchase that a customer makes at KARM, two dollars from that purchase is donated to the cause.
You can hear April tell each customer at the end of their shopping experience how many meals they helped donate to the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministry with their purchase from KARM.
In terms of her daily ministry opportunity, April frequently encounters customers who confide in her with their deepest problems and concerns. Most of the time, these customers are heavy drug addicts and dealers.
“[Drug addicts] are heavy on my heart,” April said.
She said she has had family members in the past who have gotten mixed into the messy realm of drugs.
“Luckily, praise be to God, they are clean now,” she said.
Through it all, April said she gets to be a witness to somebody, and that helps her grow as a person.
“Christ’s message was love,” April said in regards to her customers. “Everybody has a chance.”
April is optimistic about her future, and hopes to continue to grow in her faith. She also is striving to better her family financially. One day, she hopes to be able to go into the cosmetology field and reach people there with the Word of God.
“Being kind makes the world of a difference…” April said. She continues to live by those words every day as she matures her own personal ministry at KARM Thrift Store.