Economy Boosts Sales at Goodwill Stores 

Catherine Pegram

While some businesses struggle to stay open these days, others are thriving, especially the ones that offer discount prices. The Goodwill Retail Store in Bangor is one of those businesses.Linda Dunn’s been hooked on bargain shopping for 40 years. She knows good deals are the name of the game at Goodwill.”Here I have a sweater, beautiful wool – it’s a blend – and it’s from Old Navy for five dollars. It’s like brand new.”Shopper April Taylor says “The prices are really reasonable. Today they have a 50-percent off on books so the girls were able to buy so many books considering if we went somewhere else, they’d only be able to buy one brand new book.”At a time when everyone’s out to save money, this Goodwill Store on Stillwater Avenue in Bangor is making money. Sales are up 3-and-a-half percent over last year. Goodwill Stores throughout Northern New England have seen sales rise by nearly 8-percent.Manager Shirley Hall says “We see customers we haven’t seen in the last year, so we’re getting a lot of new customers.””Our price range on textiles, which is clothing, starts at 4.99, children start at 1.99. So you can already see what great value we have. And then some things if they’re brand new they’re priced a little bit pricier than that.”Hall says bargain prices get most of the credit for the sales boost. But quality merchandise plays a part, too.”We have Walmart items, that quality. But we also have Lane Bryant, Talbots, stuff like that – a lot of LL Bean.”Hall says the bonus to shopping at Goodwill is that it helps more than just the household budget. It also supports the local economy. “The money from our stores actually goes to help support our group homes so it’s great. You’re doing a good thing, getting a deal for you but you’re helping people get jobs and keep jobs at the same time, too.”