Our Story & Mission
ABOUT B2 OUTLET STORES
As with many organizations with a great cause, B2 is no different. Our story begins with a reality that many struggle with every day. B2 founders/owners, Duane & Matt Smith (father/son), did not initially plan to begin this company. But, looking back now, seeing God’s leading hand throughout this journey has been humbling.
Duane’s first wife and Matt’s mother, Karin, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. After several unsuccessful surgeries and treatments, it became clear in the early months of 2013 that a final cure was not a part of God’s plan. Matt was then in his final semester at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. Initially, his goal was was to remain in Florida and possibly begin a business there. Sensing however that his mom was in her final months, Matt made the choice to come home following graduation to spend time with his mother.
Prior to this time, Matt and his good friend had been dabbling with buying and selling liquidated goods on local online auctions. Having seen success with this small pole barn business, Matt called his dad to see if he thought there may be a possibility to build this side hobby into an actual business. It was then that together Duane and Matt came up with the idea to leverage liquidated goods but with an ultimate cause in mind. As a former youth pastor, Duane presented the idea of “Bid-2-Benefit-Youth” to Matt and that summer, the concept began to take shape.
In October, just five months after Matt returned home, God called Karin home to heaven, after a very courageous battle with this challenging illness. Shortly thereafter, Matt and Duane were able to purchase Grand Valley Online Auction in Hudsonville, MI with life insurance money, officially launching the larger vision of “Bid-2-Benefit-Youth.”
Later that next year, in 2014, the business exploded with growth as an online retail outlet division was launched. Beginning as “Benefit Twice Outlet Stores” and later becoming B2 Outlet Stores, it was this store division that provided the means for Matt and Duane to truly live into the mission and vision each day.
Out of death and loss has sprung new life. Today, thousands of lives annually are being touched by B2 and Karin’s legacy of compassionately caring for others continue with every purchase.
Many in our world today struggle with a sense of hopelessness. Whether living in America or in the hill country of a developing country like Guatemala, poverty is real, claiming the lives of many children before they reach the age of 5. A primary objective of B2 is to “restore hope” by investing in communities and providing the means for families to make their way out of hopelessness. One such campaign will be launched in the fall of 2018, as providing “clean water” becomes a central cause for all stores to undertake.
In the book of Proverbs, we read that “where there is no vision, the people perish”. Vision become a means of “restoring hope” as individuals and families are able to embrace a vision for the future. At B2, we are seeking to “inspiring vision” both internally and externally, internally by investing the 75% of 16-25-year-old young adults who make up our work force. Through mentoring, coaching, and providing responsibility, these young adults are becoming aware of God’s calling in their lives as they seek to work out how they are uniquely wired for leadership. Externally, B2 inspires vision through investing in community initiatives and programs that offer opportunity, opportunity not just for a quick fix to a problem, but long-term solutions that ultimately empower change.
Many in our world today are “stuck” in circumstances often out of their control. At the end of the day, the ultimate vision of B2 is to “empower change”. This means that we are not about just giving hand-outs, but ultimately helping individuals and families embrace the power to change, to move beyond oppressive circumstances to a future full of hope and opportunity. And so the goal is not to just provide a fish, but a fishing pole, along with the instructions on how to fish.
OUR CORE VALUES
B2 Outlet Stores seeks daily to combine the unique strategies of ministry and business to create positive, transformational outcomes. Team members become family, engaging a creative and grace-filled environment that supports, encourages, and empowers each individual to embrace their full potential in Christ. Customers and organizations served become partners that help advance the mission, ultimately creating a sustainable, global impact whereby individuals and families embrace their world confidently, creatively, and with divine purpose.