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Revived South Holland Christian store has #celerynightfever planned

Updated: September 1, 2014 8:10AM



If you like to talk to tomatoes then the Family Christian store in South Holland has an event for you.

To celebrate the release of the newest Veggie Tales DVD, “Celery Night Fever,” the store, located at 550 E. 162nd Street, will be hosting a premier party on Saturday featuring screenings of the video and an appearance by Veggie stars Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber.

“All 270 of our stores hold events for the release of every Veggie Tales DVD, but character appearances are pretty rare,” said Family Christian Marketing Manager Steve Johnson.

President and CEO of Family Christian, Chuck Bengochea, said the store is “expecting big crowds to turn out to meet the Veggie Tales celebrities that families have come to know and love.”

If his expectation is correct it would be a big turnaround for the South Holland store, which as of May was facing closure. Due to trouble renegotiating the store’s lease and slipping profits, Family Christian corporate was going to let the store close. When this was announced the community reacted to save the shop.

Mayor Dan DeGraff and a group of residents, as well as Rev. Glenn Bone, the pastor of the Good Seed Ministry in Englewood, sent letters to Family Christian corporate explaining the store’s value to the community and begging to spare it. With just two weeks before the scheduled closure date, the plan was successful.

“I told them that it was more than just a store, it was a place of fellowship in the community for church groups and senior citizens,” said Bone, who also hosts the show “Sowing Seeds” on the gospel radio channel 1570 AM. “Once they saw it was such a big part of the community, and that it was the closest store they had to Chicago they changed their minds. They sent people over to restart talks on the lease and said they’d do whatever we needed to save it.”

Since the reversal of the closing decision Bone has been promoting the store on his show and church groups in the area have been scheduling events in the shop’s meeting room to draw more attention to its place in the community.

Johnson said the store location was chosen for the larger premier event by Family Christian and Veggie Tales creator Big Idea Studios after “conversations with people locally.”

“We have a wonderful working relationship with Big Idea,” Johnson said. “We’ve carried the videos since the company’s inception in the ’90s, and they’re a lot of fun for the whole family.”

Johnson said, like all of the Veggie Tales videos, Celery Night Fever has a Christian moral to it. The video is a “lesson in forgiveness” featuring disco music. “The writer’s are just brilliantly clever and they get a lot of references and humor in the shows that kids might not get but parents laugh at.”

The South Holland event is free and families do not need tickets in advance to attend. In addition to film screenings at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. and the character meet and greet at 1 p.m., the event also will feature coloring and crafts for the kids and an Instagram contest. Parents can post pictures of their kids in any Family Christian store during the Veggie Tale premier weekend with the hashtag #celerynightfever and enter their child to win a Veggie Tales themed party for 50 of their friends featuring and Bob and Larry appearance as well as a new tablet preloaded with Veggie Tales videos.



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