Goodwill Goes High End in Connecticut

What: Goodwill tests a 13,000 sq foot super store, featuring higher end goods, in the western Connecticut city of Brookfield.

What the experts say: from Cool News of the Day: “That’s where he noticed that “thrifty and upscale” is not always a contradiction in terms. “People are really interested in finding treasures, whether it’s from for-profit re-sale stores or charities,” he (David H. Turner, president of Goodwill Industries of Western Connecticut) observes, adding “We’re upscaling because it’s a business necessity.”

What I say: One hand it’s great that Goodwill and other thrift stores are starting to price their goods and remodel their stores to be competitive, but on the other hand isn’t the point of thrift stores to help those can’t afford to purchase new items?

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  1. NikNDC says

    Thrift stores – maybe – but Goodwill sells items to raise funds for its programs – training for disabled or disadvantaged peoples…Everything I’ve found there has been severely underpriced – including two pairs of Paper Denim and Cloth jeans for $6 each! Good for them in raising their prices.

  2. Cupcake says

    Kind of brilliant—I cannot afford new designer things, unless it’s like the 80% off rack at off-saks…doesn’t everyone want something aspirational if gently used? 

    Why is it in CT though!!!  Ugh.

  3. Maria says

    We have an “upscale Goodwill” in Los Altos, CA.  I think they actually named it “Boutique G”, or something like that; from the outside, you’d never know it was a Goodwill shop.  The store is small, and only carries womens & men’s clothing and accessories.  And the prices are OUTRAGEOUS!  Besides private donations, a lot of their stock (esp. in women’s clothes) are donated from local dept. stores like Bloomingdales, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus.  So it’s great that there’s a large selection of NWT clothes, but they are not that discounted from retail.  Especially the designer labels; I saw many items that STARTED at $150 (for, say, a silk top) and then went up from there.  I won’t be visiting again; too pricy for my pocketbook!

  4. Marcie says

    I think they’re moving away from “let’s make clothes available for those who can’t purchase new ones” and toward job training and raising funds for job training.

  5. Sara says

    Actually Goodwill’s primary way of helping lower income families is through job training which is funded through the revenues from selling donated items. So this may actually allow them to help even more people.

  6. Thriftster says

    Goodwill is always the priciest of the true thrift stores. I believe their mission isn’t to provide cheaper prices for shoppers, but rather to provide work opportunities and income for people with disabilities. The upscaling and rebranding of Goodwill has been going on all over the country for quite some time. It’s been years since I found anything worth the money there. Similar to the “outlet” stores, they now purchase lots of new items to sell in their stores.

  7. E says

    I agree. Although Goodwill announced the “up scale” store as being their first, the stores prices are high when you think about what they are selling anyway.

  8. sandy says

    We have something like that in Minneapolis,“Second Debut”. It has a different feeling from the regular thrift stores, less stuff, less cluttered. My daughter shops there a lot, I have never found anything but it is definitely higher end. The thrift store prices are still a bargain compared to the original price.
    As for thrift stores making things available for lower income people, I think it is true that charity thrift stores provide a solid source of revenue for the charities involved and also jobs and training for people who are not in the mainstream job market.
    Truly low income shoppers(and not so low)find out when the special discount days and bag sales occur. Especially in the area of children’s clothing, there are great savings available.
    I congratulate the charities for giving people what they want.They do get a lot of very nice donations, so why not boutique them?

  9. says

    I would think that in upscale areas, the goodwill merchandise is to be better anyway than in a lower income area.  In other words, if its an upscale area, how much harder do they have to work to make upscale.  If I’m shopping at a thrift store, I think I’m going to find nicer stuff in the nicer neighborhood.  Unless people are driving across town to donate stuff..*shrugs*

  10. says

    Actually, in Goodwill’s case, they are more about providing opportunities in education, job training, and job seeking to those who need them most. It’s a great bonus to be able to buy really great things if you’re willing to hunt.

    It’s not quite the same thing (in my book) as the local consignment shop or the for-profie thrifit stores I’ve frequented (fabulous red trench for $25 – yipee!)

    Now if only Texas weren’t so darn far away from Connecticut!

  11. Melinda says

    Goodwill provides excellent training and benefits for the disabled, I give them kudos for that. But,raising prices? How are poor people going to be able to shop there? I thought that is what thriftstores are for?

  12. Jennifer says

    I do live in CT and if you are looking for deals go to any church’s thrift shop!  I’ve bought brand new Stuart Weitzman Pumps for $3 and had tons of designer deals!  Goodwill is so pricey anyhow and by calling it an “upscale” store that just justifies them jacking up the price!  Yes, you can find NWT but it’s priced too high.  Sorry, Ann Taylor IS NOT designer folks!

  13. Elena says

    Thrift stores, specially goodwills are getting ridiculouss, yes they help people get jobs but also they make lots of profit, at the one close to my house they do not have many employees, they make 1000’s a day and the prices are getting higher and higher, they should call it antique store not goodwill thrift store, it just to be fun to shop there no0t anymore. I think they should have cheaper prices for poor people.

  14. Kelli says

    I agree that the thrift stores are no longer bargains. I found this consignment store in South Windsor CT called Uptown near the mall. The place was huge…biggest I ever seen for consignment and loaded with great designer items NWT and really nice used clothing as well. They are real upscale and very picky what they take in but their prices were even cheaper than Goodwill.

  15. Nona says

    This is a such a load of CRAP! I have worked for this company and it USED to be about helping other people and now as is most places it is all about the almighty dollar and the bottom line. It’s pretty pathetic when you can’t have a “thrift” store anymore because it is trying to keep up with retail stores. That is a different kind of ball of wax. Retail sells new, thrift is used and resale. What’s next?

  16. Wilfredo Gonzalez says

    “The costumer are first” in this way Goodwill from brookfiel CT have much to be desired. or maybe just the manager who was working yesterday
    June 18 2010 the same manager gave me before two options about a bad product she told me what do you want for refund cash or credit? I said whatever, so she gave me credit, after two day I decided use my credit buying a product she told me that my credit doesn’t work for some products Is that fair? since she didn’t explain to me that before. In the same day saw a worst situation. some employee from goodwill helped to the costumer carrying some stuff which broken in his hands (employee) so it was not fault costumer. She ask for refund to the “hard” manager by the way was lady. and again she reject her. so I think this kind of manager at the end of the day is making loose money to Goodwill.


  17. Jane says

    I had similar experience as Wilfredo in some CT stores. The checkout people are gruff, one wouldn’t honor the October Halloween coupon (available on line) when I presented it at check out. Some stores are very good. Sometimes it depends who is at the register. I find many don’t wrap breakable items well and have had several broken or chipped by the time I unwrap them at home. Really disappointed because the nice things I find are often “expensive” or I have spent a lot of time to find a treasure. Now I re-wrap them as soon as I get to the car.

  18. says

    If you want upscale thrift at really amazing almost tag sale prices, you’ve got to check out Thrifty Treasures Thrift Shop in Vernon, CT. It is a cool place so not what we expected. It is a regular stop for my family (yes, even our teen bot and girl like it). The owners are nice too and make sure you know about sales. We went to an event they had fro free in December and enjoyed ourselves. These people seem to be doing everything to keep customers coming back for more. We were really pleased.

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