'Hardcore' thrift shoppers mob new Goodwill

Sep. 21, 2013 @ 04:45 PM

The grand opening of the new Monroe Goodwill store Saturday was like a midnight Black Friday sale. 

Excited people searched through racks of clothes for that perfect find in their size. People tried on shoes, looked at accessories, looked at books and movies, found household products and all manner of things at the Goodwill thrift shop. 

Long lines and heavy traffic did not deter customers who came steadily through the day. 

Lauren Blackford came from Waxhaw to check out the new store. 

"I'm a hardcore thrift-shopper," Blackford said. She said she loves to go thrifting. 

Blackford said she was surprised by the selection the store had to offer. She went home with a variety of items from clothes to upholstery filling. 

Blackford said she would "definitely" come back, though, she added, maybe on a weekday. 

The new, 12,000-square-foot store replaced the old Goodwill Monroe location on Roosevelt Boulevard, which opened about 25 years ago. Existing employees were transferred to the new location. 

“Since Goodwill first opened its store in Monroe more than 25 years ago, this community has shown tremendous support for our mission of helping people achieve economic independence and dignity through work,” Michael Elder, president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, said in a statement. “We value our long-term partnership with the City of Monroe in helping turn donations into good jobs, good homes and good neighborhoods.”

Shirley Chisholm, a Monroe resident, was also surprised by the selections.

"I got to the Goodwills all the time," Chisholm said. She said he usually gets good bargains, though they have become more popular recently.

She said the new store had "very nice selections" and plans to come back. 

There were raffles and drawings to commemorate the re-opening. 

"It was very nice," Monroe Resident Peggy Thomas said. Thomas came away with lampshades, luggage and many things for her grandchildren. 

Thomas noted that almost everything in the store was just about new. 

The revenues generated from the sale of merchandise in Goodwill stores support the training and employment programs offered by Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. The new store is estimated to generate an annual $500,000 economic impact locally through job creation and workforce development, according to a statement from Goodwill. 

“We feel that the increased roadfront visibility offered by the new location will engage even more shoppers and donors from Monroe and the neighboring Indian Trail and Stallings communities, which will benefit the entire area,” Barbara Maida-Stolle, Executive Vice President of Business Enterprises, said in a statement. “Our retail stores are a true social enterprise. The more you shop or donate at Goodwill, the more job training and placement services we can provide the community.”