The History of the Mustard Seed

How will Salem’s Social Ministry keep pace with the requests for services was a question that the Social Ministry Governing Board and various committees needed to answer, because the once small outreach program of Salem had outgrown itself! The ministry needed to become self-sustaining. Along with the strong support from the congregation, numerous foundation grants, fundraisers and donations, a steady source of income was needed.  
A second question that was being asked was what to do with all the donations that were not needed to provide direct support to the families being served.  There were many items that were turned away as storage space was limited.  In May of 2009 a group gathered to ponder these questions. The solution was to open a thrift store. Surrounded with much prayer, 3 dedicated volunteers, later to be named the “Mustard Seed Three” stepped up to the plate. An empty storefront in Deerwood was available and would end up being the perfect location. With a location selected, items ready to sell, and willing volunteers, it was decided to move forward with the plans to open.  
The church council approved the rental of the building and the creation of the new outreach ministry. The council stipulated that ALL revenues would be used for Salem’s social ministry outreach; no monies would be used for the operation of the church.
Only done with God as our guide, The Mustard Seed Thrift and Gifts of Deerwood opened two short months later! Volunteers cleaned, painted, remodeled, and organized. On July 2, 2009 the grand opening was celebrated with huge success. With over 100 volunteers from Salem, other church families, and the greater community, the store is a place of joy and excitement. The gifted, talented volunteers have given The Mustard Seed the flare of a boutique with thrift store pricing.

Thanks to the dedication of The Mustard Seed “Three”, 1,000’s of volunteer hours and prayer warriors, the store has generated funds that enable Salem WEST and Salem’s Social Ministry to serve more families and individuals in need each year. 

Every day is an experience as you never know what you will see on the shelves, thanks to all the wonderful donations that are given. Special events throughout the year have kept the store fresh and exciting: from the Taste of Christmas each November (the weekend before Thanksgiving) to crazy deals during Deerwood’s Summerfest, new ideas are generated every week.

The Mustard Seed continues to grow.  On May 1, 2011, Salem Lutheran Church purchased the Mustard Seed property.  Since that time, many renovation projects have taken place including updating retail space, expanding work space, adding slat wall and replacing and repairing the floors in the main part of the store.  The newest project in September 2019 was a new addition to the west, closest to the Deerwood Legion – giving even more store space and also much needed storage. 
In 2022 Salem West received a Transformative grant from the Initiative Foundation. This allowed for the donation processing center to be insulated and heated throughout the winter. Additionally plumbing was moved and new dishwasher and wash stations were added to the processing center. In the winter of 2022 – 2023 renovations were completed turning the old processing center at Salem West into the new Mustard Seed Store. Being in one location was a game changer for the organization and the cost savings of this long-term change will benefit the community long into the furniture. The new location of the Mustard Seed Store at Salem West opened in May 2023, and the building on Forest Rd was sold.
In the fall of 2023 Salem Outreach in partnership with Common Goods initiated a clothing recycling program with the installation of a bailer machine allowing for discarded clothing to be recycled into usable goods around the world. 
We will keep you updated on progress as we move forward!  Be sure to stop by often and see the changes as they happen…and don’t forgot to look for a great deal on quality items at the same time!