© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Margie Stark, the owner of Margie’s Nu-Image on Central Avenue, is seen outside of her business this week, which she has recently put up for sale.
After 20 years’ business on Central Avenue in downtown Prince Albert, Margie Stark is putting Margie’s Nu-Image up for sale.
Citing increased taxes and perceived lack of police presence, she’s saying enough is enough, leaving what she worries will be an important gap in the downtown.
Margie opened her first store two decades ago after finding salvation in Christianity.
“It was my call to the street people -- to help the street people with clothes, food -- however I could help there,” she said. “The Lord kept me on the same street, because this is where all the action happens -- where people are in dire need.”
She relocated into her current location, at 821 Central Avenue, about eight years ago, operating Margie’s Nu-Image as more of a non-profit organization than a business venture.
Specializing in wedding dresses and other wares and accessories, Stark spends more time giving away items than selling them -- the items she is able to sell going, in part, toward helping the less fortunate.
An average of about a dozen people walk through her business’s front door every day seeking help -- the most common item requested being socks, followed by pants.
Last winter, around the time Prince Albert noted its first freezing death of the season, one shivering woman who came in her front door sticks out in Stark’s memory.
“She came in with icicles on her hair, and just freezing, and she had a light jacket – just standing here, freezing.”
The Lord kept me on the same street, because this is where all the action happens -- where people are in dire need. Margie Stark
“If you have, even sitting space, would you not take the person in rather than have them freeze outside?” Stark asked, noting that most business owners would have turned her away, and certainly not given her time to warm up, and given away more sensible winter gear, free of charge.
“It’s somebody’s daughter.”
Although there are a number of non-profit organizations set up in Prince Albert to help the city’s less fortunate, Margie said that she still worries about the gap her leaving Central Avenue will leave.
Some organizations have too much red tape for the less fortunate to pass through, Stark said, noting that at Margie’s Nu-Image, there are no qualifiers for assistance.
With plenty of stock left to sell, Stark said that she plans on hosting a number of sales in the time leading up to her finding success in selling her business or building.
Once Margie’s Nu-Image is no more, Stark said that she’ll find a way to keep helping the city’s less fortunate. Some options are already in the works, she said.
People will always need help, she said -- a problem she anticipates will only get worse in the coming years, with rental prices and the overall cost of living increasing.