As NC loosens restrictions on retailers, thrift stores brace for influx of donations, customers

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- As North Carolina begins to enter phase one of reopening the state, thrift stores are preparing for a surge in donations. People have been using their time at home during the pandemic to purge their house of unwanted items.

Thrift 2 Gift in Cary has a 5,000 square-foot warehouse behind their East Chatham Street storefront that serves as a storage space for items waiting to be sold.

"In the last five days we have had an unbelievable surge in donations, as you would expect," said George King, who operates the store with his wife. "And for the most part they have been great, great items."

THE LATEST: COVID-19 updates in North Carolina

In his warehouse lies an abundance of clothes, workout equipment, household goods, toys and other items that were once enjoyed by somebody else.

Because of the capacity, King said, "The average donation that we receive today won't go out for a little while." King said items cycle through the store on a "first in, first out" schedule.

"If there are COVID-19 germs, then we're sanitizing them or they're dying as time goes by," King said. "We spent the better part of April going through the (warehouse) cleaning up, readying up, because we knew what was going to happen."

The store has been open since May 1 after receiving an exemption to open from the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

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Other thrift stores around the area will operate as follows:
  • Raleigh Rescue Mission: Wake County stores are open and accepting donations
  • Durham Rescue Mission: opening date to be announced, currently accepting donations
  • The Salvation Army of Raleigh: opening May 8, currently accepting donations
  • Habitat Wake: stores closed, donations not being accepted, currently taking online sales
  • Goodwill Community Foundation GCF: stores anticipating opening Sat. 10am, no-contact donations accepted
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