As Skagit County’s thrift stores reopen, they’re adjusting their operations to accept items that couldn’t be donated while the stores were shut down.
The Skagit Habitat for Humanity store in Mount Vernon reopened for donations early this month, and reopened to customers last week.
“(Donations) have been pretty constant,” store manager Jason Harrison said. “It’s a lot of large furniture.”
He said the store has rented two 40-foot containers to hold donations for 24 hours as a safety precaution before moving them to the sales floor. Items are sanitized and disinfected before being moved inside the store.
“With having limited staff and having the quantity of customers we have, it has been a challenge,” Harrison said. “It’s a backlog and hard to catch back up.”
Harrison said the store is accepting all items it would during normal times. It does not accept items such as bedding, infant clothes or mirrors.
Teresa Pugh, executive director of Skagit Habitat for Humanity, said modifications have been made to the store to conform with requirements of Phase 2, which limits retailers to 30% customer capacity. She said one volunteer built glass windows around a cash register to serve as a protective barrier for employees.
The Goodwill in Mount Vernon is open and accepting donations through a self-serve, no-contact drop-off format, according to Goodwill’s website. Donors are asked to pull up in their vehicles and drop off items into labeled bins. The store is not accepting furniture or large items at this time.
Goodwill warns that wait times to donate may be an hour or more.
Bargains Galore Thrift Store in Mount Vernon is accepting donations by appointment only, said chief operations officer Peter Cisneros.
“We made that decision as a smaller thrift store,” he said. “We’re not Goodwill, and knowing that everything was going to be truckloads, we wanted to make sure we weren’t overwhelming intake.”
Cisneros said the store is sanitizing items such as housewares and hangers, but is unable to launder clothing donations. He said the store’s changing rooms are open and sanitized between each use.
He said the nonprofit store opened an online store during the shutdown and will continue to offer curbside pickup for those who prefer the option.
Other thrift stores in Skagit County have not yet reopened.