WISE expands Fabulous Finds, searches for new office space

BIG RAPIDS — The new year continues to bring change for Women’s Information Services Inc., with the organization searching for a new building to house its administrative offices.

Since October, WISE staff have been unable to work in their South Michigan Avenue office because of damage sustained when a water heater burst in the apartment above the offices.

“Thankfully, we have been able to camp out and work from the Lake Michigan CPA Services, PLC office behind the office building, but that’s only temporary,” said WISE Executive Director Jane Currie. “The person who owns the building housing our old offices is selling it, so we are in the process of looking for a space.”

WISE needs to be out of its administrative offices by Friday, Jan. 15, Currie said. While they have a few options, WISE is working to make the best, most frugal decision.

“We don’t need a lot of space, just a small space really,” Currie said. “We tried working out of the shelter, but that was too crowded. We are busy figuring out where we want to be. Hopefully, it will be downtown because that’s where we like to be.”

Despite not occupying the old offices, no services have been disrupted because of the move. Anyone attempting to contact WISE can still reach staff by dialing the phone numbers listed on the organization’s website,wiseagainstviolence.org, Currie said.

While one part of WISE is moving, another has expanded. Fabulous Finds, the resale shop run by WISE, has taken over the connecting space next door, providing a new section for furniture and larger items.

“The lady who ran the antique shop wanted to stop her business, so when the space became available we worked with the Big Rapids Housing Commission to make it happen,” Currie said. “The resale shop has been a good business for the agency to have. It’s profitable; nothing huge, but every bit helps.”

Throughout the year, WISE continued working to be able to fund services provided to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. A total of $26,000 was raised as part of this year’s Match Day.

“We were very pleased with that,” Currie said. “It was above the projection for what we expected to get.”

A total of 104 people were served at the WISE shelter in 2015, and an estimated 9,624 meals were provided to those guests, Currie said.

Heading into 2016, WISE is looking to find new, better ways to provide services in Mecosta, Osceola and Newaygo counties, while continuing to collaborate with Spectrum Health and Ferris State University, Currie said.

“We are heading in a very positive direction,” Currie said. “We are looking to do more outreach in each county and find the best ways to serve our clients. I’m interested to see how our plans will evolve throughout the coming year.”