CLIVE, Iowa — A once-full section of the Many Hands Thrift Market in Clive looks a little sparse these days. Since the pandemic started, furniture donations there are down, and it's leading to a dwindling supply of discounted and used furniture.
Efrain Lopez and Geraldina Midence stopped by the store on Wednesday looking for a few household goods, including a small desk.
"It came to our attention. It looks a little bit old but well cared [for]," Lopez said as he inspected a wooden desk that was on sale for $25.
Ashley McDowell was at the store looking to furnish a new apartment. While she found a lamp, pillows, and some kitchen accessories, she didn't find much furniture.
"Furniture-wise? Not a lot. Not a lot of variety, I’d say," she said.
Store manager Jeff Thomas faults the pandemic, and believes that in some cases people have delayed buying new furniture. And if they're not buying new furniture, they're often not donating either.
"One thing that’s always struggled has been the furniture, and mostly for the fact that most people free up their furniture when they buy new furniture," Thomas said.
Another issue is that people who are buying new furniture is sometimes having to wait months to get it delivered. Some manufactures are still trying to catch up from pandemic shutdowns last year.
"This whole area was full of couches, dressers, desks, chairs, end tables, coffee tables, everything," Thomas said, strolling through the store's furniture section.
The organization not only helps central Iowans find household goods at discounted prices, it also uses revenue from in-store sales to help families in Haiti.
The store is asking for the public's help, and Thomas is hopeful donations will eventually pick back up.
"Once things do calm down, please do think about thrift stores as a possibility for picking up."