by Mike Burkett
roundup staff reporter
The long-awaited Goodwill Industries' thrift store outlet that was first set to thrill local bargain hunters in January finally unlocked its gates one week ago, and will be celebrating its official grand opening today (Friday).
Inside, customers should find the new Goodwill store was worth the wait, Laurie Thomas, marketing director, said.
"This is not your grandmother's Goodwill store," Thomas says of her company's newest store, located behind McDonald's at the intersection of Highway 260 and the Beeline Highway. "It's bigger, brighter, cleaner, and there's a tremendous amount of variety. The clothes are arranged by colors and sizes, so it's much easier to find what you're looking for. And we'll also have free coffee and a big-screen television for our customers to sit down and enjoy.
"None of these things are usually what comes to people's minds when they think of a thrift store."
The primary reason for all the updates and modernizations, Thomas said, is that Goodwill stores are no longer managed like thrift stores, but like other major department stores.
"Our stores are the fund-raising arm for our programs and services, but they are retail operations and that's how they've been viewed for about four-and-a-half years, when we started updating all of our stores across the country."
In addition to the retail-store amenities already outlined by Thomas, the 20,000-square-foot space occupied by Goodwill will feature a processing center, a donation drop-off area, and a work force development center "where we'll aid the community by helping people in job transition and that kind of thing," she said.
Store hours will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. For general information, call 468-1180.
Donating dos and don'ts
According to Laurie Thomas, the marketing director for Goodwill Industries' central Arizona headquarters, these are the "dos and don'ts" of making donations to Goodwill.
Do NOT donate:
"Hazardous materials, including paint in unopened cans because we can't be sure they've never been opened. Actually, we can't take any type of liquid, period."
Newspapers. "We can't use newspapers in any way. We are all about recycling, but those newspapers need to go to someone who specifically recycles newspapers."
Broken electrical items. "We do not repair electrical items. We used to, but we found out that when someone would bring a broken hand-mixer to us, and we'd spend time repairing it, we couldn't resell it for a profit not when you can buy a brand-new hand-mixer at Wal-Mart for $9.99. So it's no longer feasible to repair items like that ... But if the donator feels that the item might be of value to someone for parts, it could be dropped off. But the most important rule of thumb is that the items be salable."
Housewares (plates, glasses, mugs, cutlery, etc.)
Books, records, pre-recorded audio tapes, CDs
Small appliances, jewelry, linens, rugs and especially textiles "in all shapes and varieties, because if they don't sell in our retail store, we send them to our clearance outlet. There are many wholesalers who purchase those textiles from us for all sorts of uses. We even have one woman who uses the fabrics to make braided rugs.
"And if it doesn't sell in our clearance center, we have a baling machine, and we use that to sell the fabrics in bulk overseas. So nothing is wasted; it's really a neat recycling system. Everything goes to some good use."
"You can take it right into the store, or drop it off around back," Thomas says. "But we do want to ask people to drop off items only during store hours, out of consideration to our neighbors.