Looking for unique, interesting clothes, knick-knacks, collectors items and gifts? If so, you must include The Goodwill Store in your next shopping expedition.
It's the store to go to now for holiday shopping as well as all year long! Not only is the selection expansive and ever-changing, but money spent here goes to support the important work of Easter Seals.
This store is chock full of interesting items including designer label clothes, shabby chic furniture, fine jewelry, china and antique housewares.
“We are very, very fortunate. We get incredible quality donations,” said Manager Jane Bowen. “We sort through it, we make sure that only the best of the best goes out on the floor.”
As the donations come in the back door of the store they are inspected and sorted. Working in the back area are Easter Seals clients, alongside job coaches. Bowen explained that about 80% of every dollar spent at Goodwill goes to Easter Seals to help fund the education, recreation and occupational programs for clients with physical and psychological handicaps.
“As long as it meets our quality guidelines it’s sorted by department and then our clients from Easter Seals will hang them,” said Bowen.
There are daily deals at the store and coupons (look in your mail for the booklet) that offer 50 percent off one item of clothing.
Bowen explained that there is a very well executed system to make sure that the inventory stays fresh. Merchandise stays on the floor for a total of four weeks. After three weeks they are marked ½ price, on Sunday all ½ prices items are marked $1.50 and Monday morning all $1.50 unsold items are removed to make room for new merchandise.
It is with this system that they are able to put 1,200 new pieces out daily, 6,000 weekly.
“There’s always a constant rotation,” said Bowen. “To be able to give us enough room to put out another 6,000 pieces, plus shoes, plus accessories on the floor we have to constantly keep rotating it. That way you always know that there’s something new.”
Bowen believes that donors and shoppers, alike, understand that Goodwill is much more than just a store. “We get a lot of really good name brands in excellent condition,” she said.
“I think people understand what we do for the community and I think in some instances they may be much more selective in what they are willing to drop off. We have a lot of people that will make a donation and then walk around to the front door.”
In addition to receiving quality items, tags still attached, people donate antiques, family heirlooms and valuable items. These items require research before going out on the floor.
“I have a very supportive, very knowledgeable team,” Bowen said. A couple of her staff members are very well versed in antiques and are valuable resources when pricing is being determined.
Customers, who spot items on display that are much more valuable than what they are marked, are also an incredible resource. These customers “understand our mission, understand what we’re trying to accomplish and they’re very good giving us guidance, teaching us,” said Bowen.
The good work of Goodwill does not stop once the unsold items leave their locations. They work diligently to find other uses for the items to keep them out of the landfill.
Many of the “leftover items” are collected into 1,000 pound bales and sold to various, specialized buyers.
“We have certain buyers that will buy just denim, buy just wool,” explained Bowen. “At one point we had somebody who would buy odd shoes, I don’t know why, but he would buy shoes that don’t match.”
One very unique program that has been set up is a “secure way to get rid of your computers, to get rid of any computer components,” explained Bowen.
Goodwill sends any computer-related donations to Dell who extracts the valuable metals and pays Goodwill for them. In addition, they discreetly and safely dispose of hard drives and memory.
Between working alongside Easter Seals clients and raising money for the group’s good work in the community, Goodwill is a very satisfying career, explained Bowen.
“You go home at night and you feel like you’ve really made a difference.”
Clinton Goodwill Store and Donation Center
369 East Main Street
Clinton, CT 06413
Monday – Saturday, 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday, 10:00am – 6:00pm