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Where do I bring my donation?

New to the Idea Store? Wondering where to bring your donation?

Wondering why you can't just bring it through the front door... or leave it at our back door outside of hours?

Here's everything you need to know about where to bring your donation and why we've set it up this way!


With the exception of paper shopping bags, which our cashiers use at the register to bag your purchases, we can't take donations through our front door. Whether you have a one-bag drop-off or an appointment, all donations need to go to our back intake door.

How to get there from the store:

Exit the mall through the southwest doors.

Head right towards the Methodist church with the red roof.

Head down the alley between the church and the mall.

Take a right around the corner.

You'll see three large dumpsters and two blue metal doors. Our number is posted on one of the doors.

Call the number on the door (217-352-7878) during regular donation hours, and someone will come out to take your donation.

Donation hours: Wed-Fri, 12-5. Saturday, 10-4. No donations on Sundays or Tuesdays.

Why the back door?

You might be wondering... why can't you simply donate at the register? We understand your curiosity, and we're always grateful for your contributions -- the store wouldn't exist without the generosity of donors just like you!

There are a few very good reasons why it's set up this way, though, including....

1.) Less clutter at the register. Not only are our cashiers busy ringing up your purchases and answering your questions, but they also work on packaging, weighing, and pricing items for sale! This means space at the register is in short supply. Taking donations at the register would mean even less space -- and a longer checkout time for you as cashiers struggle to clear room for your purchase.

2.) Less confusion for cashiers. We have a LOT of stuff at the Idea Store. It often makes its way to the register, and sometimes cashiers are left wondering if it's part of your purchase or not. This means they might ring up something you didn't pick out and need to delete it from your purchase -- which, again, makes for a longer checkout for you. If we accepted donations at the register, we've have even more such misunderstandings.

3.) Less confusion for fellow customers. When cashiers work on projects at the register, customers often want to look through or purchase items before they've even been priced or packaged -- which leads to disappointment when people can't purchase items that aren't ready. With donations at the register, we'd have even more confusion over what's for sale and even more disappointment when items aren't available yet.

4.) Less work for our intake team. The Idea Store has a small staff out of necessity, and most of your donations are processed by just one person -- two at the most! Working intake can be a fun job, but it's also very physically demanding, with constant lifting, bending... and walking. In a typical workday, a single intake worker can walk up to five miles! To cut down on physical exhaustion and the possibility of injury, we try not to make our staff lift and carry donations all the way to the back door.

We're also an inclusive workplace, full of people with different physical restrictions. Many of our non-intake employees have limits as to how much they can lift and carry, and we want to be respectful of these limits. This means many of them can't carry donations all the way to intake for you from the register.

5.) It's more convenient for other donors. The phone is constantly ringing at the Idea Store. People have appointments, one box/bag drop-offs, and questions about what we accept. This means our intake staff needs to stay near the phone. If they're taking donations at the register, people at the back door or on the phone have to wait longer. Our donors have busy lives and other appointments/obligations, and we want to be mindful of the fact!

Why Can't I Drop Off My Donation After Hours?

In recent years we've noticed that people rarely leave their donations unattended by the front or back door after hours, and that's something we appreciate. Thank you for your kindness and cooperation!

Every now and again, however, we come in to find items blocking our front doors or even the back intake doors. Here are a few reasons why that's not the right way to donate:

1.) It creates more work for staff. Our opening staff has a lot to do in the morning! Counting drawers, stocking items for sale, straightening shelves, breaking down boxes. Dealing with items left outside of donation hours gets in the way of opening the store and receiving scheduled donations on time.

2.) It can be a fire/safety hazard. The back intake doors aren't just our intake doors... they're also fire/security doors. For the safety of mall staff and patrons, they need to remain locked and unobstructed at all times in case of a fire or other emergency.

We hope our donation policy makes more sense to you now.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your kindness and understanding, and above all... thanks for your donations!

Stay creative,

-- The Idea Store

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