ASHLAND — A concept that has worked well at Goodwill agencies across the nation will debut in Jackson County this week.
Southern Oregon Goodwill Industries now operates Good & Will, a curated boutique on East Main Street that markets its wares to a wider clientele.
The number of Goodwill-run boutique shops across the country has doubled in the past five years to nearly 70.
"We've been wanting to do a boutique-style where it feels more like a consignment store," said Southern Oregon Goodwill spokesperson Julie Fletcher. "It hasn't been our model until now, but everything in there has a brand name or is on trend. There are more fashion finds, it's not simply the thrill of the hunt."
Southern Oregon Goodwill, whose domain covers six counties, tried something similar with its Sequel store on North Fir Street in Medford several years ago, but the lack of foot traffic ended the experiment in February 2014.
Good & Will is located in the former Shakespeare Books store, next to Southern Oregon Runner, where pedestrians are generally plentiful. It might be off-tourist season, but Fletcher said there is no better time to launch.
"By opening during the down season we will have a good sense of our connection with local residents from Day 1," Fletcher said. "There is no irony in the fact we've been focusing our marketing outreach and that we're opening ahead of the Christmas parade and festivities."
Vice President of Sales and Operations Matt Chesler is confident the agency has found a sweet spot.
"We're good about doing our homework, looking at the market and doing our analysis," Chesler said. "The indicators are that we will generate revenue to provide services. We've been conservative and smart in our choices. Looking at the numbers, this is a wonderful opportunity to satisfy the desire of consumers who make a purchase and feel good about it."
Good & Will has first crack at local donations as staff cull through the hundreds of items donated daily, keeping an eye out for designer jeans, a Coach purse, Under Armour shirts and the like. Items will be priced when they arrive in Ashland and merchandised by store manager Catherine Starr.
Good & Will hours will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. A telephone number has yet to be assigned.
— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.