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Goodwill of Orange County reopens its flagship store in Santa Ana

Nicole Suydam cuts the ceremonial ribbon during the grand reopening of Goodwill Orange County in Santa Ana.
Nicole Suydam, center, Goodwill of Orange County president and chief executive, cuts the ceremonial ribbon during the grand reopening of Goodwill Orange County in Santa Ana on Wednesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

After nearly four months of renovations, Goodwill of Orange County reopened its flagship store at 2702 W. Fifth St. in Santa Ana on Wednesday.

“Today we are doing our grand reopening of our main campus store here in Santa Ana,” said Nicole Suydam, president and chief executive officer of Goodwill of Orange County. “It is an opportunity for us to showcase the store and a lot of new features.”

A line gathered outside the store for the opening celebration that included a ceremonial ribbon cutting, live mariachi music and gift cards for the first 100 customers.

Shoppers browse through a shoe aisle at the newly reopened Goodwill Orange County in Santa Ana.
Shoppers browse through a shoe aisle at the newly reopened Goodwill Orange County in Santa Ana on Wednesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The 24,000-square-foot store is part of the organization’s main campus, which also includes a donation site, and is the most trafficked and highest volume thrift store location in the county. Goodwill anticipates the renovation will contribute to an increase in sales at the already busy location that sees 4.4 million in sales each year.

“With this remodel we are anticipating to increase our sales by 10%,” said Suydam.

The refreshed space feels more like a T.J.Maxx shopping experience than a secondhand store shopping trip, with wide aisles, bright lighting and cheerful displays of an assortment of donated goods like clothing, accessories, home décor, electronics and furniture. The store has a record section full of LPs and a wide selection of Halloween décor and costumes.

“We completely renovated the store to make the shopping experience more fun, more enjoyable and ultimately to generate more money for our mission,” said Suydam.

The large cash-wrap counter that used to sit front and center at the store is now in the front corner, giving a more spacious and open feel to the building and creating more space on the sales floor.

Employees ring up a customer's items during the grand reopening for Goodwill Orange County.
Employees ring up a customer’s items during the grand reopening for Goodwill Orange County in Santa Ana on Wednesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The location originally opened in the 1970s and has not been updated since 2008. The modernized Goodwill Flagship store now matches its other 23 stores across Orange County, including five O.C. Goodwill Boutiques. There is also an e-commerce platform, ShopGoodwill.com.

Suydam said she would like to see Goodwill’s store locations grow.

“We want to be able to expand our store footprint in Orange County. We have the opportunity to double our footprint in the next 10 to 15 years,” Suydam said. “This a great representation of what we can do in other shopping centers across Orange County and ultimately create more jobs for our mission, via more training, more career development and the revenue we need to fund that mission.”

Shoppers browse through men's clothing at Goodwill Orange County in Santa Ana.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Goodwill’s retail outposts are what generate the revenue the organization needs to provide programs and services to county residents with disabilities and veterans who face barriers to employment, among others. According to Goodwill, each dollar spent contributes 92 cents to further the nonprofit’s mission. The stores also create employment opportunities: The flagship store alone employs 35 people, and the grand reopening featured a hiring event for Goodwill.

“We use the store to deliver on our mission,” said Suydam. “Because it is the work opportunities, the work experience, the career that people get to have because of the store. That is what it is all about.”

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