LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – As retailers reopen across Kentucky, shoppers weren’t shy about hitting the aisles. That was the case at some thrift stores in Louisville Wednesday.
At the Goodwill on Hurstborne Parkway, a liveliness has returned. The heart of the store is beating once again, as shoppers, in masks, are searching for hidden gems. Outside, a trail of cars is supplying them.
“We are experiencing an amazing amount of donations already this morning," DeVone Holt, the Vice President of External Affairs for Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, said. "Our team is saying it appears to be like tax season.”
Whether someone is dropping off or picking up, several procedures have changed in the two months the doors were locked. Donors will have to adhere to a no-touch policy to limit interaction with employees and donations will be sanitized.
A greeter wipes down baskets and ensures shoppers don’t exceed required occupancy rates. At the register, a sneeze guard is put in place to protect a masked cashier. When shoppers browse the aisles, they’ll see social distancing signs. Goodwill leaders said stores will be cleaned regularly and deep cleaned at the end of the day.
Rehired employees are helping the store reopen too. In March, the organization furloughed approximately 1,000 workers across the state. This month, more than 900 of them are returning to work.
“We’ve hired most of them back in the retail stores to give them a chance to get back to work," Holt said. "Not only, obviously, to earn a paycheck, but so many of them are like family to one and another. They get a chance to reconnect with one and another, and engage with people they haven’t seen in the last few months, who mean a lot to them.”
Holt said, now that the organization is back to work, it can get back to it's mission of helping others find employment.
“Being shut down for two months was tough on us because the resources we generate from our retail stores help fund our mission at Goodwill," he said. "So, when our stores are closed, it’s not just the fact that we’re not making money, but we’re not able to generate resources that we use to support our mission, which is to help men and women who have challenging backgrounds find employment.”
Visit the Goodwill website to learn more about it’s new shopping and donation requirements.