In Grand Rapids, Mich., 28th Street is lined with car lots. But there’s a new one now with a much different focus than the others. This car lot raises funds to help parents at Calvin Christian Schools in Grandville afford the cost of tuition.
Calvin’s Car Lot, which opened earlier this month, came about because of the vision of seven men known as the Group of Grandpas—all men with ties to the school. Six of the seven have grandchildren who attend Calvin Christian. The seventh, Glen Walstra, served as interim operations director two years ago after a merger of Grandville Christian and Calvin Christian schools.
“We got together and set a goal—how can we help more people who need tuition assistance?” said Walstra. “All of the grandpas knew a little something about things that moved.” The idea of the used car lot took shape.
Chris Weller found the location, an abandoned tool shop in nearby Wyoming. He convinced the owner to allow the group to lease the property for three years at a price of $1 per year. The group spent six months restoring the building. They put in a sales office in the front and a garage in the rear with a lift. The group also received donations of tools, valued at thousands of dollars, from a nearby homeless shelter.
“This is one of those things where everything has come together. You can only call it God’s work,” Walstra said.
Calvin’s Car Lot accepts donations of used cars, which will then be detailed and prepared for sale, generally at a cost of less than $5,000. Members of the group take turns daily handling the sales operations. All proceeds from vehicle sales will go toward Calvin Christian’s tuition assistance fund, said Walstra, a member of First Cutlerville Christian Reformed Church in Byron Center, Mich.