As a store that provides people with basic necessities prepares to close, a Montgomery County woman leads the charge to keep the doors open.
When Caralee Harrison learned the Goodwill Outlet Store on Fort Campbell Boulevard in Clarksville is closing, she got to work. She started a petition calling on Goodwill to keep the store open, and quickly collected more than 250 signatures.
Throughout the process, Harrison said she has heard so many stories from Goodwill shoppers who said the store made a big difference in their lives.
“I was talking to a lady last week and she was tearing up because she didn’t want the store to close,” said Harrison. “She said it gave her an opportunity to start over.”
The store is the only Goodwill outlet in the city and, every item inside is 99 cents. It is stocked with everything from clothing and shoes to towels and household items. Goodwill officials said when items don’t sell in other Goodwill stores, they are moved to the outlet. The only other outlet store in the region is in Hendersonville.
Goodwill’s PR and Communications Director Chris Fletcher said the store is closing for financial reasons. It wasn’t making its financial goal, so it was converted into an outlet store about a year ago. He said it continues to struggle financially.
The store is set to close Dec. 15. The Donation Express Center that is attached to the store will shut down Dec. 31. All ten employees at the store will be moved to other Goodwill stores.
Fletcher said he encouraged people to visit the two other Goodwill stores in Clarksville, and three donation centers. However, Harrison said the other locations are further away.
“The homeless people who live in the camp right down the road walk here,” said Harrison. “They told me without this store they wouldn’t be able to afford blankets, clothing and shoes.”
Harrison said she has seen an outpouring of support from the community to save the store, and she hoped Goodwill would reconsider closing the doors.
“I understand Goodwill needs to make their budget,” said Harrison. “Since they are a non-profit, I think they should also see how this store is helping the community.”
Harrison has also started an online petition to save the store.
“The Goodwill mission statement is ‘Changing lives through education, training and employment,’ and each year we serve thousands of people with disabilities and other barriers to employment — such as a lack of skills or a history of incarceration," Fletcher added.
The nonprofit remains committed to making a difference in the Clarksville community.