Businesses collect household donations and clothing for holidays

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COLUMBIA - Local businesses are collecting donations for those less fortunate during the holidays. Donations include anything from furniture, clothes, books, household electronics, children's toys, just about a bit of everything. However, Goodwill off Grindstone Parkway no longer accepts older-style television sets, such as old school "box" TVs. Customers have to bring in new models if wanting to donate. 

Goodwill doesn't have an exact estimate of how many items the store has collected.

Karla Gough, store manager of Goodwill in Boone County, said the best part of her job is the business during the winter. It is the only Goodwill in the area.

"We're very busy," Gough said. "I've worked here at Goodwill for nine and a half years and I work during the holidays every single year." 

Gough said she has her fair share of sentimental moments from thankful shoppers. She said the store doesn't see a fall off in business Christmas and New Years Eve are over. 

"We really don't have a dry spell anymore," Gough said. "This year, we were busy all the way through . The weather didn't affect us or anything." 

Gough said she and the staff included are "hoping we get a whole bunch of donations and be able to get through them and process them and just stay busy 'til spring." 

Jay Kay, a Columbia resident, went to the Goodwill Tuesday afternoon, hoping he could find a couple of gifts for the holidays. Kay has been shopping at Goodwill for about four or five years now. He recalls hist first experience, when he found a nice shirt and just started looking around finding a whole bunch of good things.

"I like the store a lot," Kay said. "Myself, you know, I'm from the less-fortunate. I remember being very, very young and my parents used to come here to Goodwill." 

Aside from holidays, Gough said Goodwill has become popular over the last few years with college students.

Gough said the economy may be playing a role in the recent trend for thrift shops.

Goodwill isn't the only business in town accepting donations for the holidays. 

Tiger Cleaners locations throughout Columbia are accepting coats and other clothing for the Salvation Army. 

Julie Comley, who works at the Tiger Cleaners off Peachtree Drive, said the shop has been doing the donation process since before she started working there in three years ago. 

"We're just taking donations of coats for the Salvation Army for people that are in need," Comley said. "Just think about you. If it was one of your kids out there and didn't have a coat and they need one and make sure you want to give them one. And, make sure they're warm and not cold." 

Comley is unsure when Tiger Cleaners will stop taking donations for the coatless. 

Gough said Goodwill, generally, has sales every day of the week.

The store manager encourages those wanting to donate to, first, check the pockets, coats, old coats, winter coats you haven't worn and you're going to donate. She also advises people donating to check the furniture, the cushions, and drawers.