Local man hopes to convert old Osh Hardware into social, spiritual event center for Merced

Merced resident Joel Schaap has a dream to convert the former Orchard Hardware Supply Store, located at 3155 R St., into a one-stop shop for community change in Merced. (Scroll down for video)

He recently submitted a video and brief plan to chip-starter.com in search of financial support. Chip-starter.com is basically an online funding contest started by Chip Gaines, star of the HGTV show Fixer-Upper.

In his submission, Joel wrote that the old Osh store was, “a current haven for vandalism and hub for drug use and distribution, and (we want to) renovate it into the only community and event center on the North Side of Merced, CA. Our strategy is to create one space with four main functions, each designed to create a positive presence and help improve the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the neighborhood. The site will house a full-service non-profit coffee shop (to encourage community gatherings – key for neighborhood empowerment), a rentable large event venue for local businesses, weddings and civic events (to fund operations and attract local businesses and charity organizations to the neighborhood), a block of offices for local non-profits and several smaller spaces for after-school classes, a music school and racial reconciliation forums. This neighborhood is currently filled with amazing people that are written off because of fear, racism or misperceptions.

Let’s change that.”