So we began our adventure in building this mall over two months ago! Our wonderful event directer, Julie, found this idea, added her own creativity and flare to it (along with the help of her fellow Relief Society presidency members) and the whole thing just took flight! With the amazing committee of volunteers we were able to put together something so amazing, we definitely felt we were "Pinterest Worthy". So I offered to make a blog post all about the amazing stores and the women behind them so we could share it with the world and other ward members so they could maybe create their own Zion Mall someday.
Let's take a tour of the new Zion Mall, shall we?
When "customers" first walked through the doors they were greeted with the Zion Mall sign, and also a chance to enter to win raffle prizes! (We actually have a wonderful lady in our ward who donated ALL of the prizes! She had to have donated over 50+ items! Ranging anywhere from books, to kitchen items, to beauty and heath and fitness products to games and cell phone products! It was quite the sight to see! Our mall director, Julie, actually called out Raffle prize winners periodically through out the night and we got to go over and pick a prize! It was so much fun!
Also greeting those who entered the building were four posters (made by me, actually), introducing 4 of the 16 General Relief Society presidents our church has had the privilege of having served us over the past 173 years. It was fun for me to put these together and to learn about each one of these ladies. Like, did you know the Emmeline B. Wells was the president who came up with our Relief Society's theme "Charity Never Faileth"? I also learned that I have a distant relative (Amy B. Lyman) who was also a General Relief Society president! How cool is that? I learned so much about the Relief Society before I ever set foot in the mall! What a great perk to being part of the committee!
Now, let's actually enter into the mall itself and take a tour of all of the stores! When you walked in the door, there was a mall map to help guide you along your way, showing you all the stores you could visit and even a Food Court!
The next thing we were greeted with was at our tables...we were given "shopping bags" and "credit cards". These were such a clever idea! I loved how well they came together! The credit card was one of my favorite things I received from that night!
The first store I was greeted by when I first walked in was Journey's Shoes, look at how amazing this sister did on her store front! She took a refrigerator box and turned it into a window display, then she even had her husband remove their den door off the hinges from their own home to make the front doors to her store! How clever is that!? (psst, this store was actually my favorite, yet, all of them were so fantastic!) This was also one of our "featured stores" in which the "store manager" spoke to all the women about the "shoes" that fit others, may not fit us, that what works for us is what is best for us. Her words were truly inspiring!
The next store I had the pleasure of "shopping" at, was The Pantry. This store was FULL of wonderful information on Emergency Planning and Food Storage, the "store owner" had gone to great lengths to get emergency plans straight from our local police departments website and made copies for everyone! I took nearly every single pamphlet she had to offer! She had information on being prepared for Thunder and Lightning Storms, checking your Smoke detectors and having fire extinguishers in your homes, a checklist for a "home hazard hunt", information on Disaster Psychology, what to do in the event of an earthquake, how to be prepared if the power goes out, having a 72-hour kit in your home, Winter preparedness, Motor Vehicle preparedness, Food & Water emergency storage, First Aid education, Fire Safety preparedness, Heat Wave preparedness, and Family Disaster Planning. She even had everything you could need to start doing your family genealogy! Talk about being prepared! She had it ALL!
The next store was one of the cutest ideas! Build And Bear Your Testimony! This was actually another one of our "featured" stores, in which the "store manager" came and spoke to us about building and bearing our testimonies, he had a wonderful handout and it was a truly spiritually uplifting experience to hear from him.
Next up on the mall map was the GAP outlet. This was actually the store that I "owned". The theme of mine was to "close the GAP between you and your Heavenly Father", therefore, my store was actually "closed" I had a couple of handouts though, a magnet to hang on your fridge to remind you to "close the GAP" and also a bookmark with an inspiring quote on how to build a better relationship with your Heavenly Father by Pres. Uchtdorf.
The next store (another on of my favorites, partially because I chose to break my diet last night, just for this event) was Mission Fields Cookies! The store owner spotlighted our ward's current serving Missionaries and provided some delicious chocolate chip and white chocolate chip cookies! They were divine! Such a creative idea! Don't ya think?
Next stop: the Food Court! A great group of Relief Society ladies worked together to put together a Taco Salad Bar, complete with ALL the fixings (including homemade tortilla taco shell bowls) and of course a birthday cake! The food was delicious and I ate up every single bite of what they had to serve! Thank you ladies for all of your time and hard work and effort, I was very well fed as I'm sure we all were!
After the tasty Food Court was a store called "Joys R Us" this was our third featured store and the speaker that went along with it gave SOOOOOO many ideas on how to find Joy in the Journey of our lives. She came up with ideas on everything from date nights, to girls night out, to have friends to exercise and talk with, and spending time with your family and your children. She gave us all some great ideas and I can't wait to do some of them with my own family, children and friends!
After Joys R Us came Kneaders Bakery!!! This store owner had some VERY taste cookies, along with handouts and ideas for handouts to remind us of Visiting Teaching and things we could take to our sisters that we do visit teach to help them feel special and know that we are there for them whenever they need us!
Next on our mall route was "Focus Eye Center" which helped us all to focus on our Family History! What a fun and creative idea! I love the little window that she added! And those were some nice sunglasses! I almost took a pair for myself, lol.
One of the main focal points of the entire mall was the next stop on our mall map, the Megaplex Theater! The owner of this "store" did an INCREDIBLE job! She really went all out!
She did everything from movie posters, to the giant movie screen to an actual popcorn machine for us to have popcorn and a partition to walk through! She really let loose on this place and we all got to benefit from its awesomeness! (BTW, these pictures do not even begin to show just how HUGE this theater was! It was GINORMOUS!)
The final store on the map was the Sprint store... "Sprint To Serve". This too was a favorite of mine, she had some amazing ideas for random acts of kindness towards others and our family members, and also she had printed out a talk for everyone by Pres. Uchtdorf entitled "You Are My Hands". the talk was all about being disciples of Jesus Christ and support those around us rather than condemning them. It was a truly inspired store!
Throughout the evening we all got to shop, be physically fed by the Food Court and a few booths, be spiritually fed by our three inspired speakers, and take home some amazing finds to help us better ourselves and our lives. Thank you again to all the AMAZING and talented people who put this together, it was a group effort and it was well worth that effort by the end of the night. We all appreciated the hard work that was put into this, and hopfeully for those of you who are reading this, you have been inspired to put together your own Zion Mall for your ward's Relief Society. Best of luck in your future construction of your mall if you choose to do so! It truly is worth the time and effort spent!