Volume 81, Number 2 | June 9 - 15, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

At the ribbon-cutting for Goodwill’s Eighth St. store, from left: Goodwill board member Henry Gooss and Karen Means; Tom Gray, Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce director; Sarah Boll, N.Y.U. recycling coordinator; Goodwill board member Afred G. Vanderbilt and Mary Cochran; Natalie McQueen, District 75 transition coordinator; Goodwill Vice President Mauricio Hernandez and President and C.E.O. William Forrester.

Selling clothes at a good price for a good cause

By Aline Reynolds

A new thrift shop opened its doors in Greenwich Village in April offering designer items at discount prices. Eventually, the store will also provide jobs for unemployed and disabled community members.

The Goodwill Greenwich Village Store and Donation Center, at 44 W. Eighth St., is the eighth Manhattan shop of Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, a nonprofit organization that also offers vocational programs.

“While it’s a boutique store, we want to market the goods that are along the lines of vintage clothing and higher-end merchandise,” said Mauricio Hernandez, Goodwill’s executive vice president of business operations.

The shop has seen strong sales of its new and used clothes and accessories, according to store manager Coco Ogilvie, who holds two fashion degrees from Fashion Institute of Technology. Having shopped in thrift stores since age 6, Ogilvie lives by the shops’ all-too-well-known adage, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

The manger said locals are excited that Goodwill has opened in the neighborhood.

“I have regulars already that come in every day, religiously,” said Ogilvie. “The customers say, ‘I can’t believe you’re in this neighborhood.’ ”

Goodwill previously had a retail store on W. Third St. between Sixth Ave. and MacDougal St. which closed in the mid-1990s due to high rent, according to Hernandez.

“You can imagine how people really want to do good by making sure they support an organization that has a local impact,” he said, adding they now have that opportunity.

The boutique has been receiving, on average, 30 bags of donated items per day — on some days, Ogilvie has received more than 100 bagfuls — with brand-name clothes and accessories, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel. Donors are given receipts they can use toward tax credits.

The store has a customer rewards program, in which every shopper gets $10 off every $100 purchase.

Unlike most thrift shops, the blouses, pants and other clothing items for both men and women are neatly arranged on hangers and are color coordinated. The labels on the clothes’ tags indicate whether they are new or used. Prices range from $7.99 for a blouse to $300 for a trench coat. The store’s proceeds help fund the organization’s recruitment program.

“We try to present things in a more traditional retail way so that people don’t have to fight their way through, but find merchandise in a way that makes it pleasant for them to shop,” explained Hernandez.

The Eighth St. store sports vintage black-and-white New York photographs. Donated artwork is for sale.

Goodwill’s mission statement focuses on uniting care and business to empower people and foster working communities.

“At the core of our philosophy has always been this work element. This entrepreneurial activity has grown from that,” Hernandez explained.

The store has yet to hire disabled employees, or those with other special needs, but Ogilvie said she would be open to the possibility. Goodwill’s press release on the store’s opening promises to provide 10 jobs for local people.

The organization has had a long-term partnership with Special Education District 75, which provides educational, vocational and behaviorial support programs for youths with autism and learning disabilities.

Goodwill served 160,000 people last year, placing 14,600 individuals in jobs and keeping 48 million pounds of usable goods from going into landfills.

Goodwill’s Eighth St. store is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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