An Arkansas mom bought every pair of shoes at a closing Payless to donate to local students

Posted at 2:38 PM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 16:38:01-04

An Arkansas mother of three visited a closing Payless shoe store looking for inexpensive footwear for her children. She ended up with the store’s entire inventory.

Carrie Jernigan bought every pair of shoes at a location in Alma and plans to donate nearly 1,500 shoes to students before the start of the school year.

Jernigan told CNN affiliate KFSM that she got the idea from her young daughter, who asked whether she could buy a pair of Avengers-themed kicks for her superhero-loving classmate whose own shoes were too small.

She jokingly asked the sales clerk how much it would cost to buy out the store. The employee seized the opportunity.

“I could see her face; her wheels started to turn,” Jernigan told KFSM. “She asked, ‘Can I have your number?’ “

She made some purchases and left, and later in the day, she got a call from the store’s district manager, who OK’d the mass sale. She said she expected to pick up 200 to 300 pairs, but a new shipment more than tripled the loot.

To properly disburse the piles of shoeboxes that have overrun their home, Jernigan’s family is hosting a back-to-school giveaway in August so families can pick up new shoes for their kids.

She’s grateful that her kids went with her to Payless that day, she said.

“It just reiterates to me that their heart are in the right place,” she said.

Paylessfiled for bankruptcy a second time in February and announced it would shutter its 2,100 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico in February. The company continues to sell on Amazon and at its 750 international locations, according to its website.