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How Parsons Gifts hopes to give back one last time before it closes

Parsons Gifts, one of Forsyth County’s oldest businesses, will close in February after more than 140 years in the community, but before closing their doors, will have one more push to raise money for the community.

Starting on Thursday and continuing through the end of the month, Parsons will match donations from customers up to $10,000 for a total of $20,000 to go toward local nonprofits.

Parsons is known locally for its monthly “Parsons on Mission” projects to bring awareness, support and donations to local groups, and owner Cris Willis said she “wanted one last, big chance to do as much as I can for the community and charities in the community.”

“The Lord has just blessed us, and I wanted to give back,” Willis said. “I wanted to do something to let more customers know how much we appreciated them and to help raise money and awareness for many of the charities in town.”

Donations will go to Cumming Home Ministries, Partners for Care, The Pier Foundation, The Place of Forsyth, SAFFT, Next Generation Focus, Family Haven, Family Promise, Meals by Grace, Jesse’s House and the Whisper Campaign.

Those who donate at least $10 will receive a Parsons coaster.

“I’ve had so many customers ask, ‘Do you have anything with ‘Parsons’ on it as a memento, as a keepsake,” Willis said. “It made me realize, ‘Wow, that would be a great idea.’”

Willis said she wanted to continue “Parsons on Mission” even after the store is closed by taking it “on the road” to other independent retailers in the area.

“I will use my database to help promote them,” Willis said. “I tell my customers, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to still see me. I’ll be out there on videos that I post on Facebook inviting you in to shop at other retail stores and raise money for charity.’”

This weekend will also be the store’s customer appreciation event, which will be held Thursday to Saturday and will feature gifts and refreshments for customers.

Customers will also be asked to share their stories and memories of the store, which they can write in the “Parsons Memory Book.”

Officials with Parsons announced in December the store would be closing after 142 years in north Georgia, including 93 years under the Parsons name and 72 years in Cumming.

Parsons is at 525 Lakeland Plaza in Cumming.