Goodwill Transforms Thrift Stores from Stodgy to Chic

Goodwill Thrift Stores

When you think of thrift stores, you likely picture some dusty bins with old hand-me-down clothes and half-broken furniture. But one nationwide brand is looking to change that image.

Goodwill is currently in the process of changing some of its stores from traditional thrift stores into boutique hotspots.

For example, the Rare boutique in Anaheim, California, is a smaller Goodwill store that features mainly designer clothes and vintage or antique furniture and housewares. The decor of the store is much more trendy. And there are even places where customers can sit and test out some of the products, including a place to play old records before making a purchase.

Goodwill isn’t exactly a small business. But the move represents an interesting new way of thinking for the brand. And it’s one from which some small businesses might be able to learn.

Michael Meyer, Goodwill’s vice president of marketing  told AdWeek:

“Boutiques are a growing piece of our business. There’s not a written plan, but more and more of our members are refinishing their stores. And it’s exciting because it brings in a shopper that we might not otherwise have had at Goodwill.”

The stores that put that extra care into curating items and building a pleasant environment are more likely to attract higher paying customers willing to spend top dollar even on second hand goods. The traditional thrift store model has clearly had a lot of success over the years. But in certain areas, it could make a lot more sense to build stores that feel a bit more upscale.

Basically, it’s all about knowing your customers and their preferences. If your target audience is happier digging through bins for discount clothing items, then that’s the type of experience you should give them. But if they’d rather have a boutique style environment, it might be worth it to put in that extra effort into building what they want.

Image: Goodwill


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

4 Reactions
  1. Who says thrift stores has to look shabby? I guess this is their way of giving the good of both worlds – having cheap items with a shopping feel. Win-win.

    • Exactly! I love shopping for second-hand items but I don’t necessarily like digging through bins of dirty old junk. This seems like a much better experience to me.