Gilbert’s new Goodwill store rolled out the red carpet Thursday, serving wine and catered food at a posh preview for the neighborhood that protested against it.
The store, which opens todayat 1500 W. Warner Road, includes a break area with free coffee, higher-end merchandise such as Coach purses, and is sprayed with a scent to make it smell like a department store.
Mike Leslie and Kaleena Jones of nearby The Islands homeowners association said as they stepped in that they were opposed to the Goodwill, but added its atmosphere might help prevent the store from degrading into what residents fear most — that it would draw the wrong element.
Jones said she would “wait and see” how the new store affected the
Others were thrilled about the new store.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Pat Jameson of Gilbert, as he dropped off donations. “People maybe have a stereotype or a bias towards Goodwill being a charity.”
Laura Clark, a Tempe resident who considers herself a “Goodwill junkie,” said she’s seen these concerns before, but they die down. Clark said she has an MBA and makes good money, but still shops at Goodwill all the time.
Tim O’Neal, vice president of retail operations for Goodwill of Central Arizona, said the average Goodwill shopper is a woman between 25 and 54 with a family income of $50,000-$75,000.
O’Neal said the Gilbert store is the first of nine that will open this year with a similar higher-end design.
Prizes will be given throughout the weekend, including shopping sprees for those first in line.
Profits for sales go toward providing jobs to the physically and mentally handicapped, or financially needy, O’Neal said.