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Andrew Howes is a floor clerk with the help of a job placement program at Goodwill. Video by Tim Shortt. Posted 11/23/17.

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Central Iowa shoppers on a hunt for a bargain can sift through two different specialty Goodwill stores in Johnston.

Goodwill of Central Iowa is holding a grand opening for two new shopping options between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. this Saturday at their Johnston headquarters at 5355 Northwest 86th St.

One option will provide a more "designer" boutique feel, while the other one is similar to the outlet in Des Moines where items are purchased by the pound.

"We're trying to get people in our doors that wouldn't shop Goodwill before," said Alison Cate, director of marketing for Goodwill of Central Iowa.

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"Styled by Goodwill" is a curated store based off a pop-up shop the organization operated at Valley Junction in West Des Moines for two months over the holiday season.

Five curators will sift through donated clothing in central Iowa and determine which ones should go into the boutique, based off the brand and fashion trends.

Pieces in the 1,030 square-foot store will include more labels like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Coach purses and "one-of-a-kind" vintage items, Cate said.

The average price is $3 higher than a typical Goodwill store, Cate said. Instead of using the color-coded pricing tags that Goodwill is known for, each of the items are individually priced. 

"People said they’d be willing to pay a little more to save that time and get the items they’re looking for," Cate said.

Meanwhile, the outlet store at the same facility will act similarly to the one currently off Southeast 14th Street in Des Moines.

Bins of donated items will rotate through the 4,289 square-foot store several times a day. Instead of purchasing individual items, people pay $1.29 per pound.

Bargain hunters will need to sift through piles of clothes, toys, sporting gear or household items, but they will get it at a significantly cheaper price than at any other Goodwill store, Cate said.

"It's definitely the definition of a treasure hunt," Cate said.

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For now, the two stores will remain open for six months. During that time, people can fill out surveys and give feedback about their likes and dislikes.

The reason for the experiment? Like most retailers, Goodwill is exploring the shifting brick-and-mortar landscape as they compete with online resale sites like Poshmark, Mecari or behemoths like the Facebook Marketplace.

But even though donors don't make a profit from giving their clothes to Goodwill, they hope the convenience, non-profit mission and new offerings will bring people through the doors.

"We’re able to train individuals to get out and get jobs," Cate said. "You don’t get that return from Poshmark. You don’t get that fuzzy good feeling."

 

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