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Goodwill stores have bargains for back-to-school shopping

Updated August 7, 2020 - 12:16 pm

First it was essentials like toilet paper and food. But now the most desired items during the pandemic include clothing, desks and fitness equipment.

With back-to-school shopping looking a little different this year, more families are turning to stores they may never have shopped before to find items and outfits without breaking the bank.

Goodwill of Southern Nevada is a nonprofit chain with a range of pre-owned clothing, furniture and housewares servicing the community for 45 years.

It’s easy to drive around town and spot the 17 locations. Since moving into Phase 2 of the directives put into place by Gov. Steve Sisolak, Goodwill has taken on new meaning for those looking to save money.

Morgan Waldron, marketing and communications director of Goodwill of Southern Nevada, said she has seen a shift in the typical customer visiting the stores before the pandemic.

“We are seeing a lot more younger customers and millennials come in and shop. They like the mission factor that we help people get jobs.” she noted.

Purchases made at Goodwill benefit Southern Nevadans. Donated goods transform into funds for workforce development programs, which benefit the unemployed and underemployed in the community, keeping the money cycling locally.

Some of the hot-ticket items have been fitness equipment such as treadmills, weights and bikes. Even with gyms reopening, many people prefer to workout at home. A new or refurbished stair-climber from Life Fitness can run up to $6,000. We found one browsing the store in working condition for $99.

In terms of clothing, Goodwill has something for everyone. Looking for a job and finally secured that interview? It has name-brand suits from such companies as Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. How about outfits for your entire family? Goodwill has got that too. The best part is the price.

We went bargain-hunting and found name brands such as Gap, Express and Jennifer Lopez. After doing some price comparisons, the total cost for pants and tops for a family of four came to $224.10 if purchased from the stores directly.

When we added up the cost of the same items at Goodwill, with additional discounts added for the color of the week items, that total came to $34.22. Total savings: just under $190.

Aside from clothing, desks are a hot-ticket item these days. As more families get their homes ready to double as a classroom for virtual learning, Waldron said desks usually go just as fast as they are placed on the sales floor.

Goodwill also has other specialty items such as learning workbooks, school supplies and electronics, with more donations coming in each day.

Waldron said its stores are seeing a higher level of donations. With more people staying home and cleaning out the clutter, they are donating items to the nonprofit.

Safety precautions have been put into place in the stores, Waldron said. Along with daily safety and temperature checks for staff, all stores have thorough cleanings throughout the day, with social distancing and plexiglass dividers at registers.

As for the clothes and other donated goods, they are quarantined and stored for 24 to 48 hours before they are placed on the sales floor. To be extra safe, shoppers are encouraged to wash and disinfect any items once they are home.

For those uncomfortable with visiting a store, there is ShopGoodwill.com. It’s similar to eBay, and everything posted is certified and authentic to ensure name brands are really name brands.

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