Kentucky Man Buys Everything at Kmart, Then Donates All to Charity

PHOTO: Rankin Paynter bought out the entire stock of a closing-down Kmart store and donated it to charity.
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A Kentucky businessman showed a heart of gold by buying the entire inventory of a closing K-Mart and donating it to charity.

After turning aside calls from flea markets looking to buy the inventory valued at around $200,000, Rankin Paynter, the owner of a Winchester firm that buys up surplus goods, decided to donate the merchandise to a local charity.

"I told my wife, I can make $30,000 or $40,000 on this deal but let's give it to charity," Paynter told ABC News. This story first appeared on Lex18.com.

During a visit to the store, the good Samaritan was checking out the display cases and a safe for his jewelry buying business when he learned the store would sell all of the merchandise on the last day of business. One requirement: You had to be a power buyer.

Paynter, who is a power buyer, had to fill out an application with the company to purchase the goods, which had everything from winter clothes to over-the-counter medicine. According to Paynter, the day before closing the store called to offer him the whole lot. But there was one rule.

"They said you can buy it all but you must sign a contract and take everything left in the store," Paynter told ABC News.

And, he did.

On Sunday, May 6, the businessmen stood in line for six and half hours to purchase the inventory that had to be rung up at four different registers the evening the store closed. It took the 77-year-old two trucks, two vans and six workers to move all the items from the store to storage. However, Payntner had no clue then what he planned on doing with all the inventory.

During a discussion with his banker, Paynter learned about a charity in the area that could use the goods he purchased. And, after viewing some of their financial records, the Winchester businessman decided to go with Clark County Community Services, which serves low- and middle-income residents in the area.

The inventory was an early Christmas gift for the organization, which plans on boxing up the winter goods to be distributed later on this year.

"This will be the first time we will have enough coats and gloves for everybody," said Judy Crowe, the director of the non-profit organization. The organization's Christmas program "Operation Happiness" is one of the largest in the area serving 1,500 families in one day.

"For a local businessman to buy from a local store that was selling through liquidation and give to a local charity –it's shifted to 3rd world country or recycled—to have access and discretion with no strings attached was very generous," said Judy Crowe, the director of the non-profit Clark County Community Services .

It's a decision that makes Paynter proud. "It makes me feel good [to give to charity]," said Paynter. I come from real poor background. I'm talking really poor," he said. "I was able to pull myself out and make a lot of money," Paynter continued.

One thing the Paynter did not expect was for the good deed to get so much attention. He says this is not his first brush with charitable giving but usually his name is kept out of the papers. But, since "it's gone as big as it is, [hopefully] people are going to realize now that needy families are out there and people need help," said Paynter. "Things are bad out there."

Thanks to Paynter's donation, the Clark County Community Services, which also works with God's Pantry to feed the needy, may be able to clothe every in-need family in Winchester and Clark County.

Paynter, who gave the organization $1,000 for movers and also footed two months of rent to store the inventory for the non-profit, says he was told by the organization, "there's going to be enough money for everything. We may have enough money for two to three years."

The feeling of helping cannot be described but he says it's a good feeling.

"We've all been put on this earth to help each other through. If I can help people through, I'm happy," said Paynter.

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