November 29, 2023

Veteran-Owned Thrift Store Opens its Doors in Bushnell

1.5 min read| Published On: November 29th, 2023|

By Cindy Peterson

Veteran-Owned Thrift Store Opens its Doors in Bushnell

1.5 min read| Published On: November 29th, 2023|

Stephanie Lopez, a 36-year-old US Army veteran, has begun an exciting new venture by opening Bargain Utopia, a thrift store that showcases treasures of all kinds, from antiques and furniture to home decor, jewelry, clothing, kitchenware, and much more. The store officially welcomed its first shoppers on Friday, November 17, with the aim of offering quality goods at affordable prices.

“As a military veteran I suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression, this year was particularly rough,” Stephanie says. “I needed to find my passion again. I love helping others and has always been a life goal to own a shop.”

After her service in the Army, she transitioned into a career in healthcare, eventually earning her Masters in healthcare administration while working at Orlando Health. Her husband, a US Army veteran with over 20 years of service, retired in 2018 and briefly worked at Massey Services before deciding on a life-changing move.

The decision came after the heartbreaking loss of Lopez’s sister to breast cancer, followed by the passing of her mother-in-law just nine months later. Faced with these losses, Lopez and her husband decided to prioritize family and community. They sold their home in Clermont and purchased a farm in Sumterville, a decision they’ve never looked back on.

“One of the best decisions we made,” Stephanie says.

Owning a shop had always been her lifelong dream, and this offered her the opportunity to combine her love for helping others with her entrepreneurial spirit.

Bargain Utopia aims to be more than just a thrift store. Stephanie envisions it as a vehicle for giving back to the community. The store will not only offer quality items at bargain prices but also actively engage in food and toy drives and collaborate with local churches in Sumter County to provide donations and support to those in need.

Did we mention there’s free coffee?

Bargain Utopia is located at 106 S Main Street in Bushnell, and is open on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can follow their updates and offerings on their Facebook page: Bargain Utopia on Facebook.


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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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