When a family-owned tile and marble company closed its doors two weeks ago, a window of opportunity opened for a local food bank in Gallatin.
Work is already underway at 1021 Woods Ferry Road, the former home of Estes Knight Tile and Marble Company and soon to be the home of the Sumner Food Bank.
"This new facility has 12,000 square feet that will be totally used for warehousing food," said James Gill, Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church of Gallatin and Executive Director of the Sumner County Food Bank.
On Thursday, Gill told Nashville's News 2 the church, which operates the food bank, purchased the property to accommodate the growing needs of the county.
The warehouse is less than a block from the church, and dwarfs the current 1,600 square foot, rented storage space on Main Street.
"It reached a point where something had to happen," Gill said of the smaller space.
When the tile and marble company closed, Gill, who had been scouting various local properties for the food bank, reached out to the Knight family to ask about the building.
Estimated to be worth upwards of $1 million, Gill was taken aback when the Knight family offered the property at a fraction of the value.
A deal was reached, and Gill began the daunting task of reforming the old manufacturing space into a food storage facility.
"Everything in here has to be cleaned up, modified, and it has to be sanitized," he said. "It has to be totally stripped out so we can accommodate all of our shelving and racks for the food. It has to be a lot of drywall [and] ceiling work to be done. A tremendous amount of electrical has to be done, plumbing."
The work is well worth it for Gill, who has seen a steady increase in the number of families and individuals in need throughout the county.
On the third Tuesday of every month, 1,200 people line up outside the food bank. In recent months, the numbers have increased by 10 to 13% each month.
The new warehouse could store enough food to feed four times as many people, with an additional garage for equipment storage and a lot for parking.
"I had no idea it would reach, in four years, to come from a 10x10 classroom to a 12,000 square foot building," Gill said.
Donations intended for food will not be used to renovate the building, as Gill continues his efforts to keep costs down and food supplies up. However, the food bank will accept donations of time, money, or materials specifically provided for renovations.
The new Sumner County Food Bank is scheduled to open September 7, before the September food giveaway and in conjunction with National Hunger Awareness Month.