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Trading spaces: Stepping Stones, Armadilla Wax Works, $6 Deals to exchange locations in Prescott Valley

From left, Khristine Davenport and Blake Davenport of $6 Deals, Stepping Stones CEO Robin Burke, and Armadilla Wax Works co-owner Denise Jenike are switching their brick-and-mortar locations as part of a group arrangement. (Doug Cook/Courier)

From left, Khristine Davenport and Blake Davenport of $6 Deals, Stepping Stones CEO Robin Burke, and Armadilla Wax Works co-owner Denise Jenike are switching their brick-and-mortar locations as part of a group arrangement. (Doug Cook/Courier)

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Armadilla Wax Works, 3545 & 2651 N. Industrial Way #1. (Doug Cook/Courier)

It is uncommon for a nonprofit and a small business in the same town to swap the buildings where they sell their merchandise. However, when the transaction meets both the owners’ and their customers’ needs, that’s another story.

By mid-August, Stepping Stones Agencies’ Thrift Store, 6689 E. First St., and Armadilla Wax Works, 3545 & 2651 N. Industrial Way #1, in Prescott Valley will have traded spaces in a real-estate transaction.

Stepping Stones, which also operates a clothing outlet at 6717 E. Second St., will begin consolidating its stores on Sunday, July 28, for the move to Industrial Way. Stepping Stones and Armadilla will close for a short time before reopening at their new spots.

“We’re gonna open to the public at the new location Aug. 14,” said Robin Burke, CEO of Stepping Stones.

Burke said she had been looking for two years for a spot to bring Stepping Stones’ operations under one roof. Both Burke and Armadilla co-owner Denise Jenike said that when for-profits and nonprofits work together, it’s a win-win situation.

“In the past 20 years, Stepping Stones has, space-wise, grown 10-fold, from 6,000 square feet to 58,000 square feet of space now,” Burke said. “Now that everything’s become so expensive, that is not sustainable anymore.”

Meanwhile, a new business named $6 Deals, which has been leasing space from Armadilla since November 2018, will take over Stepping Stones’ 9,000-square-foot clothing outlet building. A meeting room and Step One Coffee House behind the outlet will remain. The outlet and $6 Deals, open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays, are scheduled to switch spaces in August.

Prescott native Blake Davenport, 23, owns $6 Deals, a discount store with goods priced $6 or less, and receives part-time help from his mom, Khristine Davenport.

“We get new product every single week — a semi-truck load of stuff,” Blake said. “We’re excited to make our presence aware to more customers and more people of the community.”

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Stepping Stones Agencies’ Thrift Store, 6689 E. First St. (Doug Cook/Courier)

At Stepping Stones’ thrift stores, shoppers look to buy everything from books to furniture. Proceeds from the thrift stores’ sales support Stepping Stones’ Helpline, advocacy services and safe shelters for local families trying to escape abuse.

Burke said she called Jenike to ask about making the move for Stepping Stones, which has 65 employees, half of whom are full-time, and 130 volunteers.

“The opportunity to have both our Prescott Valley thrift stores in one location allows us to provide even more resources for families in our advocacy programs and give customers a better shopping experience,” said Burke, who calls the move “The Big Switch.” “We raise a lot of money for our programs.”

Jenike, who co-owns Armadilla Wax Works with husband and master candle maker, Kent Buttermann, said Stepping Stones’ aptly-named Red Barn building on First Street provides “the right space” for their retail candle and mercantile store as well as room for continuing to make candles.

“Our building has been for sale for a while,” Jenike said of the Industrial Way location, which comprises a total of 40,000 square feet. “The candle business has changed over the years, and our needs for that amount of space have been reduced.”

Armadilla had operated in three or four different spots in Prescott Valley before landing in its current location at Industrial Way, Jenike said. The current space has a small retail store next to its candle-making area.

Jenike operates the retail, sale and display of Armadilla’s candles as well as accessories and home décor.

“The thing that we’re most excited about is that we’re going to have the amount of space that we need, and they are going to have the amount of space that they need,” Jenike said. “It fits.”

BACKGROUND

Since 1980, Stepping Stones Agencies has worked to provide around-the-clock advocacy services in west Yavapai County. For its store hours, visit steppingstonesaz.org.

Armadilla Wax Works, currently open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, has made American Southwest-inspired candles in Prescott Valley since 1984. Since it first opened in 1971 in Old Town Tempe, Armadilla has fashioned and sold candles, both with and without fragrances, for celebrations and ceremonies, home decor, romantic evenings, weddings and personal relaxation.

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