Cullman residents will be able to shop and eat for a good cause later this year at the Red Door Thrift and Cafe — just as soon as the organizers raise enough money to open it.

Bill McCartney, who will manage the restaurant and niche thrift store once it launches, said the non-profit initiative is scheduled to open later this year.

“The idea is we’ll have a cafe inside a thrift store, and the cafe will serve breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday,” McCartney said. “The thrift store has typical thrift items, but also local art from regional artists and handmade crafts. We want it to be a little eclectic and interesting to generate some traffic.”

Though the store and diner will be operated in a “for-profit” manner, the organizers will give away all profits at the end of the year to faith-based and general non-profits in the area. Lunch on Friday will also be free to anyone who comes.

“At the end of year we’ll take half the profits and give to Christian outreach and missions,” McCartney said. “The other half will be given away to non-profits in Cullman County through a grant program. We’re trying to create a fun place to be. Something that will generate money so we can give it all back to folks. We want to be a funding source, as opposed to another non-profit trying to get a piece of that shrinking pie.”

The project is taking some cues from the popular Grace Cafe initiative at Grace Episcopal Church, which provides a free lunch for the community once a month. McCartney noted the “seed” for the Red Door Cafe and Thrift came from the church, but it will be operated as a completely separate entity.

Organizers are still looking for a location in Cullman to host the store and restaurant, and plan to hold a Chili Fest cook off as a fundraiser on Saturday, April 6 at the edge of the Greif property at Depot Park from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“We’re still in the fundraising stage, so we think this will be a great way to get some money together to open and host a great event for the community,” McCartney said. “It will be a festival-like atmosphere and should be a really great event.”

The event will have more than 30 competitors and samples will be available for attendees. There will also be arts, crafts, games and kids activities. Admission will be $10 for adults and $3 for children. The entry fee to compete is $195. Winners will receive trophies as prizes.

For more information visit the event web site at

* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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