Woman Buys Out Entire Payless Store to Help Those in Need

Carrie Jernigan says it all began with a simple request from her daughter to donate one pair
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2019 8:00 AM CDT
Woman Buys Out Entire Payless Store to Help Those in Need
This Aug. 23, 2006, file photo shows a Payless store in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

It started with a pair of Avengers-branded shoes. One day in May, attorney Carrie Jernigan was shopping at a Payless near her home in Alma, Ark., with her kids, trying to grab as many pairs of deeply discounted footwear as she could after Payless announced it would soon be closing all of its stores, per CNN. But when her 9-year-old daughter asked if they could buy a pair of Avengers sneakers for a classmate in need, Jernigan was struck with an idea: What if she just bought out the entire store and donated all of the shoes? And so she half-jokingly asked the clerk how much she'd want for the 350 or so pairs of shoes still perched on the store's shelves. Per KFSM, the clerk asked for Jernigan's phone number and told her she'd let her know about her request.

A few hours later, Jernigan got the call that she could buy out the rest of the store—and while she was there to pick up her new footwear, a final shipment came in with more shoes, and Jernigan scooped those up, too. All told, she went home with about 1,500 shoes, worth about $21,000 before the store's slashed prices. Jernigan had so much new merch that she decided to hold a fundraiser in August, where she'll also give away school supplies to families in need. Local businesses and a church are assisting her with that effort. She hopes this will inspire others. "If they can go help one person, one child, go to school with a new pair of shoes on, it will make that child’s day so much better," she tells CNN. (A Kansas woman pulled off a similar act of generosity for Nebraska flood victims.)

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