One Harrison business has made its mission to support local causes. For CATO of Harrison, giving back to the local community has been a part of their corporate culture for years. It is common for CATO to donate items that have been in the clearance section and can no longer be sold in stores to thrift stores in the local area, including the North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store.
Left to Right: Brianna Starnes, CATO First Assistant Manager, and Kimberly Marlman, CATO Sales Associate, recently donated several brand new items to the NARMC Auxiliary Thrift Store. They are pictured here with some of CATO’s donations and Thrift Store Manager, Dawn Jones.
“It is a way to give back to the community,” Branddi Forke, Manager of Harrison CATO, said.
CATO donates a wide variety of items including jewelry, shoes, clothing, hats, purses and night gowns. Every item donated is brand new and has never been out of the store. Each week, the store’s staff goes through their product and boxes up items to be given away. Volunteers from several area thrift stores come by and pick them up at least four times a month.
“It makes us feel amazing because when they come in to pick it up, everyone is always so gracious,” Forke added.
Forke makes sure that donations from Harrison CATO are sent to several local thrift stores as a way to support many needs in the community.
“I think the wealth should be spread to everybody,” Forke said. “Especially when it is for different causes.”
The NARMC Auxiliary Thrift Store has been in Harrison for more than 25 years. According to store manager, Dawn Jones, the community response has been nothing but positive. Individuals and companies often donate to the Auxiliary’s cause. CATO is just one local business that donates brand new items.
“I am so thankful,” Jones said of donations from local stores. “I appreciate everything they do to help us help the hospital.” The thrift store is one way that Auxiliary volunteers make an impact on NARMC. Each year, the thrift store generates $90-100,000 of profit. Those funds along with the profit from the NARMC gift shop and other fundraisers benefit needs of the hospital whether that is purchasing new equipment or other services.
The NARMC Hospital Auxiliary organizes almost 200 volunteers that put in thousands of volunteer hours each month. Men and women from Boone and Newton counties spend time manning information desks, running the thrift store and gift shop, overseeing comfort carts, spending time with patients during satisfaction visits and working on other special projects. From April 1, 2016- March 31, 2017, the Hospital Auxiliary put in more than 40,000 of volunteer time. The NARMC Auxiliary Thrift Store is located at 225 N Main Street in Harrison.