Athens Thrifty Christmas store opened up Saturday with around 400-500 people in attendance. By 9:30 a.m. the parking lot was so full people were at neighboring businesses looking to find a spot.

Shoppers scoured the huge selection of Christmas items and local students helped transport items to the register and vehicles for those whose eyes were bigger than their arms.  Santa came and one customer said they drove from Waco after hearing of the event.

“It was a great success, we had a really good turn out,” Matthew Akin, store manager said.

All profits at the thrift store go towards local non-profits and no doub they appreciated the publics enthusiasm. Hot dogs (around four hundred of them, chips and drinks were served and the entire operation ran very smoothly and organized considering the crowd.

Ladies helped box up selections to make toting it easier and cashiers kept the process going as smoothly as possible. Parking attendants helped guide holiday shoppers to the best spots.

They had a huge selection of quality items ranging from decorations, trees, nutcrackers, nativities and outdoor accessories. All items were priced to sell.

“It has been fun, busy and going fast,” Jamie Henry, assistant manager said.

The shop was opened by Drew Douglas in 2010 to raise money for charitable causes in Henderson County. Since opening it has given away approximately $800,000 to non-profits in the community.

Douglas said he is hoping to give a total of $1 million dollars by 2020.

“I believe Christ has asked us to help our communities, and I'm glad He has given me an opportunity to serve here,” Akin said in a previous interview.

The thrift store annually supports 21 charities. It accumulates proceeds and then splits them evenly toward each organization. Some of the local non-profits that have benefited from the program include East Texas Crisis, Family Peace Project, First Baptist Children's Clothing and Bedding, Lila Lane and Ruby's Safe Haven.

All of the stores profits go to the community. In order to get the grant, organizations have to apply each year.

Athens Thrifty Christmas will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m to 4 p.m Saturdays. They will be open through Christmas. Athens Thrift is located at 1419A E. Tyler St. and is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday   and 9 a.m. To 4 p.m. Saturdays.

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