5,500 Southern Artists and Patrons Stake Claim as 1st Virtual Department Store Using Facebook Groups Option

Huntsville, AL, August 29, 2013 --(PR.com)-- Inspire Arts Alabama, the flagship program of Inspire Charitable Foundation is proud to stake their unverified claim as the 1st completely virtual department store, Alabama General Store (AGS), to establish itself on Facebook. When AGS’s radical new nonprofit artist outreach program united a diverse group of Southern artisans, peppered with few who just want to be Southerners, you know something amazing is bound to be created.

Using Facebook’s group option, Alabama General Store opened on July 9, 2013. A novel marketing approach employed by Inspire Charitable Foundation President, Deborah Kienzle, stimulated rapid growth. This grass roots project required the creation of new product. The product became 23 specialty groups or ‘art departments’. Developing unique solutions to market demand was a task at which Kienzle had previously excelled. In 2002, in response to the burgeoning housing boom, Kienzle, along with her husband Michael, created one of the first quality online television video tour products in the nation.

As Alabama General Store approached its one month anniversary, membership in the group, that bills itself as featuring Southern Art and Handcrafted Wares, had ballooned to almost 5,000. Noting that the work of talented artists was being pushed down the page every time a new post was made, Kienzle knew she quickly had to devise a solution or risk losing the participation of artists she had spent upwards of 16 hours a day locating in small towns and rural communities throughout the South. The result was the creation of Specialty Departments, again using Facebook’s group feature.

Alabama General Store, at 6 weeks old, now boasts an inviting Lobby, 3 Administrative Offices, and 21 distinctive Departments that function under the guidance of a mentor, called a “Manager”. All goods continue to be handmade by gifted artisans. Departments include Fine Art, Handcrafted Clothing & Accessories, Furniture, Jewelry, Home Décor, Holiday Décor (which, not surprising for Alabama, says Kienzle, includes Football), Toys, Bath, Body & Scents, YUM! Edible Art Café, yArt (Lawn, Patio, and Garden Art), Basement (Art Supplies), Music & Handcrafted Instruments, Artistic Pets, Sports, Books & Handcrafted Stationery, and the final art collection celebrating three of the South’s favorite pastimes: God, Guns, and Gears.

“We, the artists and patrons, are all working together. Something great is happening – lives touched, changed, uplifted, inspired. A reclusive artist left home for the first time in years to purchase art supplies, female veterans provided comfort when the son of a fellow artist was injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. An inclusive community has arisen,” observed Deborah Kienzle, President of Inspire Charitable Foundation, “together with our 5,500 members, we’re succeeding at our mission.”

Visit the Alabama General Store groups by picking up a directory in the store’s Lobby at www.Facebook.com/groups/AlabamaGeneralStore/.
Inspire Charitable Foundation
Michael Kienzle