Friday, October 30, 2009

Goodwill awards Sanibel teen with thrifty honor

Amy Burns reacts after learning she won Goodwill’s Thriftiest Shopper in Southwest Florida contest on Friday. She is pictured at the Sanibel Goodwill location.

Amy Burns face broke into a Christmas tree bright smile after walking into Goodwill on Friday and being greeted with a din of flashing lights and a crown as Goodwill administrators announced she is the winner of the Thriftiest Shopper in Southwest Florida contest.

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida has spent the last four months hunting for the savviest thrift shopper around, as part of its "So You Think You're Thrifty" contest. More than 40 candidates entered the competition, and the field was narrowed down to four finalists in late August. The finalists received gift certificates for $100 to test their shopping mettle. After a month of online and in-store voting, Burns is the winner, according to a press report.

Burns, a Sanibel resident, hollered with glee and grinned like royalty - which in a way she is.

Kirsten O'Donnell, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, made the sense of of a regal moment come alive as she placed a silvery tiara upon Burns' head and gave her a bouquet of golden shaded flowers.

"Oh my goodness, I can't believe it," Burns said. "I think has not sunk in yet," she said as she scanned the crowd of smiling faces.

As winner Burns was given a $250 Goodwill gift certificate and the opportunity to appear in a Goodwill ad campaign, along with other prizes.

"What really impressed us about Amy is she's not the typical shopper," O'Donnell said. "She's young and stylish."

But aside from Burns savvy fashion sense, something else resonated with O'Donnell. She said she admired the fact that one of the primary reasons Burns shops at Goodwill is to help the environment by recycling clothes. She would frequently get pieces of clothes and turn them into beach bags or other goods.

"She finds a lot of thing she can reuse," O'Donnell said.

As winner Burns will participate in an upcoming Goodwill advertising campaign.

But what will she do with her gift certificate?

"I am going to shop with it," Burns said.

But she probably will be judicious in her shopping choices and not just grab everything she sees.

"Now I have a reputation to uphold," she said. "I have to be thrifty."

For other Thriftiest Shopper want-to-be's start stretching those shopping dollars and get ready because Goodwill plans on making the contest an annual event.

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