COLUMBUS, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Since the October 19 grand opening of Ohio’s first Out of the Closet Thrift Store in Columbus’ trendy Short North district, over a thousand people entered a contest at the 1230 N. High St. store to win a brand new 2013 Vespa LX1501F scooter. This week, the winner of the stunning new ride was announced to be Columbus resident Tyler Bigham!
Bigham, a nursing student at Chamberlain College who lives less than a block from the store, said he entered the contest at the store’s opening day event, and by mid-December had completely forgotten about the contest, assuming someone else had won the scooter. Then, two days before his birthday, Bigham received a call from Out of the Closet declaring him the big winner.
“In general, I just like to help in any way I can,” said Bigham, who works with cancer patients at Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital. “[The Columbus Out of the Closet] has a lot of really nice clothes, and I think it’s so great that the proceeds go to a good cause. It’s great that they provide free HIV testing, because a lot of places don’t have that, and I think it’s amazing that they’re giving advice and raising awareness.”
“We’re so proud to give Tyler Bigham this beautiful Vespa in return for the good he’s doing by supporting HIV/AIDS care through shopping at Out of the Closet,” said Jonathan Kreuyer, General Manager of Retail Operations for the international Out of the Closet chain, which benefits AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). “By putting 96 cents of every dollar we earn at Out of the Closet directly towards HIV/AIDS treatment worldwide, we feel it’s an easy way for people to do good every day, just like Tyler does, and it feels great to reward that generosity.”
Bigham expressed how pleased he was that the store is located in the bustling gay neighborhood of Short North “because it’s a great gay community and a lot of younger people aren’t aware [of the risks of HIV], so to have this built right in the center of it all is great to raise awareness.”
Just because Out of the Closet has already rewarded Bigham’s kindness doesn’t mean he’s going to stop his generosity any time soon: Bigham said that he and his partner have already rallied friends they’re visiting in Washington, D.C. for New Year’s Eve to gather up unwanted clothes and furniture for the couple to bring back to Columbus and donate to Out of the Closet.
Bigham said that whenever people ask him about his Vespa – which he describes as “very old school, very Italian, and very nice-looking” – he will simply tell them to “shop at Out of the Closet!”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to over 260,000 individuals in 32 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @AIDSHealthcare.