Returning to its roots: Joy Gift Shop becomes Grace Reformed Church
For over a century, the small white building on 229 3rd St. W has been known for being a spiritual center of Dickinson’s religious community, that was until it became the Joy Gift Shop nearly five years ago. However, the building recently returned to its genesis as a place of worship at the behest of owners Tracey and Jackie Hoff.
Known around Dickinson as the ‘Joy Building’, the Hoff’s officially sold the property to Pastor Michael Voytek and the Grace Reformed Church in August of 2020, where the facility has played host to religious sermons since September.
“They’re amazing,” Voytek said in regards to the Hoff family. “We wouldn’t have been able to get the building without their patience since it took us a while to get everything together. They were very gracious to us.”
The small may be small on the outside, but is filled with warmth and a total of 40 soft grey chairs in the center of the wooden room with bright sunlight glazing through the thick windows to give the room even more brightness along with the lights that hang from above. In front of the first row of chairs is a small wooden podium with a mic, just enough room for the pastor to give the sermon.
Outside of the main room sits a small book room that features a large spatial environment for people that may like to stand and socialize either before or after the service is complete. For those that may like to sit, four pitch black comfy chairs sit underneath a darkish gray cross that shines brightly in all areas of the building.
A large coffee counter sits in the left corner of the wide room, making it easy for people to have a refreshing warm cup of coffee before or after the 10 a.m. church service.
In the upstairs section are chairs and a class-room like setting for children or people wanting to educate themselves about their religion. The area also features a good lookout area of the activities that could be happening below in the large social area.
Voytek said the building and everything in it would not be possible without the faith of God.
“It’s a work from the Lord,” Voytek said. “It’s been fun to watch the Lord work.”
Obtaining the building was no easy task for the reform church. After being able to confirm the Joy Gift Shop was going to be put up for sale, Voytek started to begin searching for ways of getting the building for the church. However, every seemingly potential path continued to lead to a dead end. Still, the Hoff family, who ideally wanted the building to return to its days of faith, continued to work with Voytek.
“They were excited that we were interested and they were very patient,” he said.
Just when all hope seemed lost, the reform was finally able to strike a deal and get approved for the ownership of the building.
“We honestly weren’t going to get the building,” Voytek said. “Now everytime I go into the church I just have to sit back and say ‘wow Lord, you’re awesome.’”
The building was originally constructed around 1910 and was used as a building of faith for over a century before being bought and used by the Hoff family and turned into the Joy Gift Shop for a few years before being sold to the Grace Reformed Church.
Voytek hopes people will begin to recognize the building for its new persona.
“It’s pretty much known around town as ‘the Joy building.’ If you ask somebody, ‘hey, where’s the Joy building? They’ll say ‘it’s on third street right near the chamber of commerce,’” he said. “We’d love to see the building be now known as ‘the Grace building’ because right now it’s known as ‘the Joy building.’”
Fortunately, the community of Dickinson came together and delivered a gift for the new reform church by making donations to help create the Grace Reformed Church sign that now stands outside of the building.
While COVID has made the year difficult for all businesses, especially new ones, including churches, Voytek said the new building has helped tremendously during these times.
“I think the building has been kind of a shot in the arm for the leadership especially and some of the core families that have been trying to create this church,” he said.
Voytek added he and his staff are currently thinking of new ways of adding to the church and helping bring the community together.
The Hoff family was unable to be reached for comment.
For more information on Grace Reformed Church call 701-590-5935, or log onto grcdickinson.org.