Designer Resale Store, No Easy Sell

DallasDan O'LearyTarrant County

Goodwill Industries, known for it's sprawling stores wants to bring a new kind of designer boutique to North Texas, but so far it hasn't been an easy sell. Two cities have already turned down the proposal, but the Fort Worth non-profit is hoping the third, Keller will green-light the plan.

Bargain shoppers say they would make the drive to Keller if the project gets the go-ahead. "I grew up being a seamstress" says Liz Miller. "I know good fabrics, but I just don't have a lot of money to spend". Several other women shopping in the massive Bedford store echoed those sentiments.

There are only five of the GW Boutiques scattered throughout the country, including cities like Portland, Manhattan and San Francisco. The smaller outlets -- compared to the mega-stores that many people are used to with Goodwill -- feature hardwood floors and cater to those wanting upscale clothes on the cheap. "The boutiques are different from traditional goodwill stores", says Senior Vice President of Retail Sales for Goodwill, David Cox. "It would only feature top quality name brand women's clothing, like the Gap and Ann Taylor".

Goodwill is asking Keller officials to allow a storefront in the Old Town area, even though the current ordinance does not allow for drop-off centers. The boutique would include a donation drop site. Officials say it was the idea of a donation drop site that convinced Colleyville officials to decline the project. The donation zone is a concern for Keller as well. "Typically in drop off centers, you have people there through the night, pilfering through it and that is the concern most people have about that", says Keller City Manager, Dan O'Leary.

Grapevine also took a look at the plan and said no, partly out of concern that it would hurt it's own homegrown resale shop, Graceful Buys. The revenues from the store help the needy in the Grapevine-area. Grace officials say there are only so many high-end donations around. "Competing for those dollars in contributions is always a concern", says Grace Executive Director, Shonda Schaefer.

But Goodwill officials are assuring critics that it will be a good neighbor, supporting the community and supplying jobs to the difficult to employ. All the while they say, helping women to dress for less. "We are neat and clean", says Cox and on the top of our game".

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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