Orange Ave. Goodwill Gone? Not To Worry

The Roanoke Goodwill store on Orange Avenue near Bonsack will close at the end of June and already, there are cries of “the internet did it!” I don’t much think that’s the case.

This is a busy section of a divided highway that has seen struggling businesses for quite a while. The shopping center–Market Square East–is not a lot to write home about, either. It’s low-end, hard to get to and hard to get out of. Big truck traffic at peak hours is interstate insane, and frankly, dangerous.

A while back, a WalMart Neighborhood Market store (one of the smaller WalMarts) closed on the other side of U.S. 460 and a large Kroger closed nearby several years ago, moving east into Bonsack.

Right now, Goodwill has a large presence in Roanoke with six substantial stores/donation centers; two stores/donation centers in Salem and oneĀ  each in Vinton and Troutville; one donation center only and one car donation center in the Roanoke Valley. Bedford has one large center and Blacksburg/Christiansburg have two. It is a big business.

Goodwill, in my view, does not really face a threat from the ‘net. Shopping there–and at most thrift stores–is its own shopping experience. Bargain hunters like me will enter a Goodwill with absolutely no goal but to find something interesting and unanticipated at a bargain price. It is recreation. Two days ago, I bought a new, restaurant-quality panini grill (a $170 value) for $5. I didn’t need it, nor did I anticipate it being there.

I buy clothes at thrifts for a fraction of their retail cost, some of them slightly used, all of them well-made, fashionable and sturdy. I don’t need the clothes, but it’s fun finding the deals and bringing them home (even as I take others to the collection center at the thrift stores).

I’m not aware of any shopping experience on the internet that equates to the thrift store experience, and I shop for quite a few items on the ‘net (camera equipment, electronics, books [Kindle], prescriptions), but never clothes. I don’t and don’t expect to shop for groceries online. Again, it’s about bargains. I love to walk out of a grocery store, totaling in my head the money I saved by being careful.

Don’t blame the ‘net for this Goodwill closing and I wouldn’t think of it being a sign of things to come. This one’s a simple practical closing of a store that is not generating the kind of square foot revenue expected of the modern Goodwill stores, where you’ll often see more customers than in a Belk’s or Penney’s. My guess is that a donation center–if not a store–will pop up nearby pretty quickly. Oh, and Goodwill says the employees (about 15 of them) will still have jobs in other stores.

3 thoughts on “Orange Ave. Goodwill Gone? Not To Worry

  1. I used to be a loyal, almost daily Goodwill shopper, especially after retiring. Lately all I’ve seen there are prices doubling and stained, torn clothing. I used to never see damaged clothing. I was also told by a Goodwill employee they will no longer check out the electronic/electrical items such as radios, small appluances, etc. before placing them for sale. What good is a radio that won’t play & was priced at over $5.00? You would expect it to at least work.
    Also, many items can be purchased brand new at the Dollar Tree. A composition book that sells for $1.00 there was offered for 99 cents at Goodwill. Problem: The Goodwill one, had been written in on several pages. Many CDs cases don’t even have the correct CD and many are empty. I’m not a person that wants items given to me, but it’s getting to where people on fixed and lower incomes can’t even afford to shop at the Goodwill. There’s something very wrong when a used, dirty kitchen table with NO chairs is marked $35.00 or a small figurine of a cow with the tail & part of the ear broken off is priced at $1.99. What about how the Goodwill will separate things like sets of stereo speakers or even cannister sets. Instead of charging by rhe set, they price them individually and you end up paying almost the usual price for a well used item. I have pictures of some of the most ridiculous pricing. At times it angers me, other times, I just leave vowing to never return. Some say, “Well, you’re still getting a bargain”. Are you really??

    • Jeanne: Possibly, but at best only a minor one. GWLtd (Goodwill) is the best run of all the thrift stores (regardless of the controversy over paying its employees less than minimum wage) and most people tossing things, think Goodwill first. Its large number of locations make it convenient for both buying and contributing.

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