10 Things We Learned From Goodwill (Part 2)

Why are the prices increasing at Goodwill? Are resellers hindering others from shopping? Has the increase in our fast fashion consumption had an impact on Goodwill’s inventory? We sat down with Dee Dee Collura, VP of Retail Operations at Goodwill Akron for an in-depth behind the scenes look at Goodwill Akron for these answers and more. Tune into the podcast for the full conversation and keep reading for highlights below.

There’s plenty of good stuff to go around

Goodwill Akron received 17,000 tons of donated goods in 2021. Although they have seen an increase in fast fashion items, Collura said they have not seen a reduction in overall quality of donated items, including vintage and other valuable items.

Sure, they got it for free, but there are costs to processing our donations

“Our donors are so incredibly kind and generous to us,” said Collura. “But we still have to pay to get all of this 17,0000 tons of treasures sorted through into the funnel of where it needs to be sold.” Goodwill Akron employs about 500 people and payroll is their biggest expense.

No, resellers are not driving up the costs at thrift stores

Collura says that they do not, and would not ever consider pricing their items based on a specific type of shopper. The popularity of thrifting is also not a reason for the rise in prices. Rather, Goodwill reevaluates their pricing to ensure they are paying their 500 employees a fair, living wage as operation and cost of living expenses increase each year.

Goodwill Akron doesn’t plan to move away from “set” pricing any time Soon

Set pricing means that items are priced at a flat rate per department (with the exception of a few items). For example, all blazers are the same price, all jeans are the same price, and so on. Goodwill Akron does not use set pricing on housewares, rather the employees use a guide to price housewares.

Goodwill Akron Evaluates Prices In The Surrounding Market

Goodwill Akron evaluates prices at other thrift stores, including other Goodwill organizations, Target, and Walmart in the counties in which they operate to ensure they are not pricing themselves out of the market.

Looking for Jewelry? Check their online Store

Goodwill Akron receives a lot of donated jewelry and most of it posted to their online store on Shopgoodwill.com. “When someone donates something that has significant value like jewelry, they want us to be good stewards of that donation,” said Collura. By putting the jewelry online, it allows the shopper to determine the price. “That’s the fairest way for us to do it.”

They can’t possibly pull all the “good stuff” for their online store

Collura said that each of their stores is asked to send one “cloth tote” of clothing to be evaluated for online product per week. Each tote may contain anywhere from 10-60 items. To put things into perspective, Goodwill receives about 17,000 tons of donated items. They don’t have the capacity or space to list all of the “good stuff” online.

The intent of Goodwill is to put people to work

Goodwill Akron’s mission is to help individuals find, prepare for, and retain employment. Revenue from the stores support their programs to help individuals with services such as career exploration, assessments, career counseling, job coaching and placement, and more.

Think the prices are too high? Offer specific feedback

Goodwill Akron encourages shoppers to reach out to their corporate offices with specific feedback about pricing. Specific feedback helps get to the root of the issue. “I want to know if it’s a specific store problem, is it a specific team member problem that we need to do more training on?” said Collura.

Goodwill Akron’s CEO does not make millions of dollars

If shoppers have questions or concerns about the Goodwill Akron’s CEO’s salary, they may access this information by searching for the organization’s public disclosure 990 form online.

Thanks, it’s Thrifted is a podcast about secondhand style and sustainable living hosted by two treasure-hunting friends, Dina & Shannon. Follow on Instagram @dinasdays and @thanksitsthrifted.pod. For more about the podcast visit dinasdays.com/podcast.

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