In Other News: Goodwill’s New Stores Look Like Contemporary Boutiques

by Harry Sheff

Goodwill, the organization best known for its warehouse stores selling donated apparel and home goods, is starting to see some of its independent regional affiliates open small boutique-style shops with carefully picked designer merchandise. Most of the revenue generated by the stores goes to Goodwill’s job training and placement programs.

“Goodwill is quietly transforming a small but growing number of its stores across the country into boutiques — smaller, more intimate shops where the furniture is antique, the clothing is designer, and the space feels more like Urban Outfitters than a warehouse,” writes Robert Klara in Adweek

Goodwill of Orange County, Calif. opened a concept store called OC Goodwill Boutique in 2013 that features designer products. “We have a very creative merchandising team who used donated goods to build store displays and merchandising areas that resemble the likes of Urban Outfitter or American Rag,” said Goodwill of Orange County VP of retail Corrine Allen when the store opened. “We also received lots of inspiration from our partnership with the Art Center College of Design. Shoppers are in for quite a surprise.”

Last December, Goodwill of Orange County opened a store called “RARE By Goodwill” in Anaheim, Calif. The 4,700 sq. ft. experimental boutique encourages shoppers to get creative with the merchandise: “Turn a picture frame into a chalkboard for your kitchen or transform a jacket into a stylish vest, RARE by Goodwill let’s you be the designer,” a press release explained.

Déjà Blue Boutique in Denver, another Goodwill boutique mentioned by Adweek, opened in 2012 in the Cherry Creek North shopping district. Goodwill describes the 1,900 sq. ft. shop as “upscale and boutique chic.”

The Déjà Blue concept isn’t specific to Denver — one opened in Las Vegas in fall 2013 and another one opened in Lubbock, Texas in fall 2014.

Michael Meyer, the VP of marketing for Goodwill’s national organization told Adweek that the boutique concept is growing. “There’s not a written plan, but more and more of our members are refinishing their stores. And it’s exciting because it brings in a shopper that we might not otherwise have had at Goodwill.”