Kent thrift stores make adjustments to comply with COVID-19 regulations and keep employees and customers safe

Einstein’s Attic is a thrift store located on 1677 East Main St. in Kent, Ohio.

Gina Schlegel Reporter

Due to COVID-19 regulations, thrift stores such as Einstein’s Attic and Goodwill Industries located in Kent have changed the process of accepting donations to keep customers and employees safe. 

Einstein’s Attic owner Sherry Dakes reopened the thrift store on June 1 with the new store hours being Wednesday through Saturday 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Face masks are required to be worn by both customers and employees. Dakes accepts donations for the store, but picks out 95 percent of the items being sold at auctions and elsewhere. 

“When everything was shut down nothing was open, so we were not able to go out and find anything,” Dakes said. 

Due to COVID-19, many auctions Dakes typically finds products being sold at her store are not open, and some are online in order to keep proper social distancing guidelines. Steps are being taken to make sure products being sold are safe for customers. 

“Clothes have to be laundered and we have to wipe everything off before we put them out on the floor,” Dakes said. 

Goodwill Industries, another thrift store located in Kent, has taken steps to keep customers and employees safe during this time. 

The Kent location reopened on May 16. Customers and employees are required to wear a mask.

“We are accepting donations, there have been some points in time where we have had to close the donation center because people have been so unbelievably generous and we have gone over our capacity limits,” Dee Dee Collura, vice president of retail for Portage county and surrounding counties, said.  

New procedures have been put in place, carts are being sanitized after every use, one way aisles, minimum of two dressing rooms open and sneeze guards at every register. Donations are being quarantined for at least 72 hours before they are processed. 

Jesse Khalil, a sophomore psychology major at Kent State, explained that she has been thrift shopping a handful of times since stores were reopened, but not nearly as much as she did previously.

“I am slightly more nervous to go because of everything going on, however it does not stop me from going because I know the stores are taking caution,” Khalil said.

Collura explained there has been a decrease in customers because people are still afraid to come in, but the ones that are shopping are buying more than ever.

“We appreciate the Portage County community for the support that they give to us,” Collura said.

Gina Schlegel covers downtown and construction. Contact her at [email protected]