Abilities Unlimited Expands Operation

JONESBORO -- It's odd how the economy affects one business and not another.  A Jonesboro business that helps to provide services to the disabled through re-sale of donations is hitting its stride.

Abilities Unlimited marked a new chapter with the grand-opening of a new business on Huntington Avenue.  The ribbon cut and the doors opened to a new business featuring sofas, entertainment center and paintings.  It's a higher end line of merchandise for Abilities Unlimited to re-sell.

"People will remodel their their homes and they donate things they no longer need," said Sandy McQuay, manager of the new Abilities Unlimited home furnishings store.  "Alot of times it's very nice merchandise."

It's not first time Abilities Unlimited has sold more expensive items than what it typically found in their thrift store downtown.

"We've had a store similar to this," explained Lorene Gibson, administrator for Abilities Unlimited retail operations.  "We've had a store similar to this. The Unlimited was located at 1334 Monroe Street.  We opened that store in 2005.  It was just about 600 square feet.  Very small.  But the concept was very well received by the general public.  So we had a chance to move it here and so we just kind of jumped on it."

That's mainly due to the recent acquisition of this building and another one downtown.

Proceeds from this business and four others help to fund programs for the disabled aged 16 and over.  Donations provide jobs like these at the AU production center on North Church Street.  There are also two retail stores in Paragould and one in Blytheville.

"We have very specialized programs depending on the needs of that person and their disability," said Gibson. "For instance, in our Monroe facility, there are the more severely developmentally disabled that are in our daily program there and they work on daily living skills."

Despite sales being down in other sectors, Abilities Unlimited has not seen a decrease in donations--and for that--the not for profit feels fortunate.

"We certainly have been blessed with good donations," said Gibson.  "And we hope it continues to come in.  With the economy, we hope that people are still generous and think of us when they want to make a donation."

If you would like to donate furniture, clothing or appliances to Abilities Unlimited, just give them a call at 870-972-1881 or 870-239-2777.

And by the way, parking should return to normal within the next couple of weeks at the retail store on Union.  The city of Jonesboro has been renovating it over the last few months.