Carr Furnishings closes after months of giving to Carr Fire Survivors


Carr Furnishings in Redding closed its doors for the last time on Saturday, after giving away thousands of pieces of furniture over two and a half months to at least 230 Carr Fire survivors.

Tess Woodford came up with, and organized the project. She said it all started with an idea, but after reaching out to some friends it quickly became a reality.

Woodford quickly secured funding from sponsors like the Shasta Regional Community Foundation, who gave $6,000, the Tehama Board of Realtors who donated $5,000, and Viva Downtown, who took on all the store's legal needs, lights and insurance.

Soon, thousands of donations came pouring in from the community.

According to Woodford, she couldn't have pulled it off without the help of Nels Klaseen, who showed up nearly every day to help without having to be asked.

Together Woodford, her husband Bil, their son and volunteers like Klaseen have been able to help Carr Fire survivors start to rebuild, one couch at a time.

On their busiest days, they said they would go through two or three stores full of furniture.

"We try to move everything as quickly as possible because people are unloading and also loading up," said volunteer Nels Klaseen.

Bil Woodford and Klaseen usually spent the day loading and unloading furniture as was donated or taken home by survivors, while Tess Woodford ran the store front.

They would all frequently share and hear the stories behind the donated pieces along the way.

"These pictures here. They came in, their great aunt was a wildlife photographer. She took pictures all over the world and this was her private collection and they donated five crates of these beautiful wildlife pictures."

However, for people running the store and several customers, Carr Furnishings has given the community more than just free furniture, it's also been a safe place for people to share their stories of survival.

"I could see spotting happening over the Keller Lumber Yard. What I didn't know was the fire was so big it was coming around through Spring Gulch Reservoir and so I'm thankful that we were able to get out of there when we did," said Glen and Berneice Everest.

The Everests said they lost their home in the Keswick area. They were packing up but not yet evacuating when the fire started getting very close. Fortunately, they were able to survive thanks to a heroic California Highway Patrol officer.

"Suddenly a highway patrol [officer] comes to the door and he says, 'Why are you still here?' And I said, 'We have two of us and 17 chickens!' He said, 'Okay, let's load your chickens.' So he helped us load 17 chickens and we're thankful that he came along because we might have stayed too long otherwise," explained Glen Everest.

They may have lost their home and garden to the fire but since then, the Everests have found several new pieces at the store to help them start over.

"We found a couple of nice pieces here last time to fit in the little slots here and there," said the Everests.

Bil Woodford said that stories like the Everests make the store special, and new Carr Fire survivors come in all the time with stories of their own to tell.

"It's amazing. It's an amazing thing. I've done a lot of charity stuff around town and it's been the one that's caught onto my heart the most," said Bil Woodford.

Before closing for the final time, the California Legislative Assembly presented Tess Woodford and the team with a Certificate of Recognition for their incredible work, providing furniture and hope to the people of Shasta County.

In their last hour open, Tess Woodford said they successfully re-homed at least 80% of the furniture left in the store.

The remaining items will be given to the Shasta Youth Alliance.

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