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Goodwill builds new Victoria store (video)

By BY ALLISON MILES - AMILES@VICAD.COM
Jan. 25, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2013 at 7:25 p.m.


Did you know ?

• The ugly Christmas sweater trend proved helpful for Victoria's Goodwill store. The store sold out of every sweater it had during the 2012 holiday season.

• The incoming Goodwill store is the first in its 11-store region to offer the covered, drive-thru donation area.

• The new 12,000-square-foot store includes an 8,000-square-foot showroom, while the rest of the space goes for the office and warehouse. The warehouse will be climate-controlled.

New donations make their way to the sales floor every day.

All clothing hangs on racks inside Goodwill because, psychologically, it's better to sort through clothing as one does in a traditional retail setting, rather than to dig for items.

SOURCES: MARJORIE BOUDREAUX, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS WITH GOODWILL INDUSTRIES OFSOUTH TEXAS INC., ROBERT KNIGHT, PROJECTSUPERINTENDENT WITH BRAZOS CONTRACTORS AND DEVELOPMENT, AND PATRICIA PRUETT, VICTORIA GOODWILL STORE MANAGER

If you go

What: New Goodwill store

Where: 214 E. Larkspur St.

When: Store opens March 14

To donate: The new store will offer a donation drive-thru

For more information, call 361-575-6242 or visit GoodwillSouthTexas.com.

Whether it's prized Archie comics, household knickknacks or quilting books she's after, Sylvia Cantu enjoys a modern-day treasure hunt.

"You can find good things if you really stop and look," she said while perusing Goodwill's clothing racks. "It just takes some time."

But the longtime shopper must soon alter her game plan.

After more than 20 years at 4102 N. Navarro St., Cantu's main stomping ground, Victoria's Goodwill store is setting up shop in a new location.

Construction is well under way for a new store at 214 E. Larkspur St., said Marjorie Boudreaux, director of marketing and communications with Goodwill Industries of South Texas, Inc. The grand opening is slated for March 14.

The change is a chance to update the way the store does business, she said.

The new system includes barcode scanners and price tags instead of the current color-coded barbs, she explained, while a computer system, which gauges what goes in, comes out and which items sell best, will replace the manual tally method.

TV monitors advertising the day's prices as well as a covered drive-thru donation station also join the mix.

"This is totally modernizing the way we do things," Boudreaux said of what the company terms the "new Goodwill experience."

Store manager Patricia Pruett said the changes are a welcome sight to both her and the staff. Not only will they make working life easier, but the store can also up its employee count from 10 to 24 people.

More workers means a way to better assist the Crossroads community, Boudreaux said.

Goodwill employs a variety of people, including those with disabilities and ex-offenders. Store revenues support job placement, training and retention.

That new building will also eliminate another longtime issue - bats.

A colony of the winged mammals have called Goodwill home for a while, Pruett said, creating not only a smell in the building but also an obstacle for some staffers.

"I'll sometimes get calls at night from people telling me they're stuck in the break room," she said as one rogue bat circled overhead. "They'll say, 'We're scared.'"

Not everyone is looking forward to the upcoming move.

The area surrounding the Victoria Mall has too much traffic, said Mary S. Cantu, who frequents the current location. She said she and other older residents would be less likely to venture that direction.

"I told my husband he better enjoy it now," she said, noting she plans to shop instead at the Houston Highway Wal-Mart once it opens. "I won't go out there."

DaCosta resident Richard S. Gonzalez said he, too, prefers the current site. The Larkspur location will add to the drive from his Port Lavaca Highway home, he said, noting traffic was also an issue.

"I like it here," he said. "But if you've got to change, you've got to change."

Still, others said they look forward to the update.

Hallettsville resident Barbara Magruder doesn't venture to Goodwill too often but said it's where she purchases clothes for her mother, who lives in a Victoria nursing home. The new location means a slightly shorter drive for her when she comes to town.

Pruett said other regular customers have also expressed excitement.

"I got a big hug from a customer yesterday," she said with a smile Tuesday. "It makes me feel good to know they're even more excited than I am."

As for Sylvia Cantu, she, too is ready for the new shop to open.

The new site means a slightly longer drive, she said, but it's not enough to keep her from those hunts she enjoys with friends and relatives.

"There are 14 of us in my family, and we all shop at Goodwill," she said. "You never know what you'll find."

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