Red Roof Mini Mall is a family affair

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By Sara Bertsch

Owners Carmen Gisi (center) and her mother Virginia Sandmeier recently opened up the Red Roof Mini Mall in April. Virginia’s great-granddaughter Summer Sandmeier helps out in the store too.

Owners Carmen Gisi (center) and her mother Virginia Sandmeier recently opened up the Red Roof Mini Mall in April. Virginia’s great-granddaughter Summer Sandmeier helps out in the store too.

‘Where’s the pizza?’ is the first thought and overly heard joke to the owners of the Red Roof Mini Mall, which opened nearly three months ago.
The Red Roof Mini Mall is located in the building that was formerly Pizza Hut years ago and is now owned by Carmen Gisi and her mother Virginia Sandmeier.
Gisi and Sandmeier set their eyes on unique and beautiful items when it comes to stocking their mall. The items in the store range from homemade cards to one-of-a-kind crafts.
“We have a huge variety of items. People say it is enticing,” Sandmeier said.
They didn’t want to take away from other local stores like Dady Drug, Gisi said. They started out by keeping their fellow churchwomen in mind. The homemade items of several women at their church, the Family Worship Center, are a regular presence.
Scarves, jewelry, and refurbished furniture all are items made by locals. In addition, to these items, Gisi and Sandmeier consign as well, but it is very limited. They both knew they wanted the store to stay clean and classy.
The idea of a mini-mall wasn’t first on the list when they became owners of the building.
“I wasn’t sure what God’s plan was at the time when we bought the building,” Gisi said.
At first, they thought it would become a Mexican restaurant. Gisi’s niece and nephew showed their interest in pursing the restaurant, but before they knew it, there were too many obstacles to over come and it became expensive.
It was then Gisi and Sandmeier decided to turn it into the mini-mall. Shopping is one of their hobbies and to start a business around that sounded like a great idea.
“Shopping, shopping, shopping,” Gisi said. “We both have a love for creativity and shopping.”
While several of their items come from local women, they go and find many items from stores in Bismarck and other places.
“A lot of this stuff, you won’t see again,” Gisi said. “We have things that come from everywhere.”
According to Gisi, her mother is very creative. She will take an item, often old or forgotten, and transform it into something beautiful.
One of the first items they sold was a vase Gisi bought at a sale. Her mother saw it and realized the potential and value of the vase.
Although Sandmeier has the creative touch, her favorite part is customer satisfaction.
“I love to see people find what they’ve been wanting to find for a long time,” Sandmeier said. “We don’t have a lot of one thing. They’re unique.”
With all of these rare and one-of-a-kind items, comes a lot of hard work. According to Gisi, it is a family affair.
Gisi’s husband and her brother have put in endless hours of work in the store. They help fix anything on the store and will help hang up picture frames and such.
In addition to the work they do at the Red Roof Mini Mall, Gisi has another job. She and her husband own Paws for a Cause and do boarding and grooming. She works there Mondays through Thursdays and then works at the mini mall on Fridays and Saturdays.
Her mother also had a second job at the GoldenLiving Center but recently retired, making herself more available with the store.
The two plan to be open more in the future. They don’t find it too difficult to make time for something they both enjoy doing.
“We get to talk to so many people, it just doesn’t feel like work to me,” Gisi said.

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