The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 11, 2012

Goodwill store coming to Mankato hilltop

MANKATO — The already burgeoning thrift store market will grow this summer with the opening of a Goodwill store on Mankato’s east side.

The 20,000-square-foot store, being built next to Gordmans, will open late this summer. It’s the 26th store in Minnesota and the first Goodwill in the Mankato area.

Lisa Ritter, marketing director for Minnesota’s Goodwill, said the nonprofit has been expanding and is opening several more stores this year.

“The thrift industry has obviously thrived during the recession.”

While Mankato has seen several new or expanded thrift stores in recent years, particularly in the hilltop shopping district, Ritter said the market remains strong and the Mankato demographics are good.

“The college certainly helps and we look at the demographics. Our typical customer is a female, 44, and 60 percent own a home,” Ritter said.   

She said Minnesotans’ habits make them strong supporters of thrift shops. “Consumers don’t throw things away, they want to reuse things. We, more than most states, have that attitude.

“And people support us, we’re a nonprofit, so all our net revenue goes into our programs to get people on a path back to work.”

The new store will feature a drive-through drop-off area for donations. “It’s quick and in the winter people are protected from the cold.”

In the past year in Minnesota, more than 15,000 individuals received services from Goodwill, including job skills training (automotive, banking/finance, construction, medical office and retail), job placement and free medical equipment loans. Each store also provides on-the-job training.

Goodwill Industries, an international not-for-profit, is best known for its Easter Seals program, which supports initiatives to improve access to affordable health care. Goodwill also advocates for affordable mass transit, mental health insurance coverage and welfare reform.

Goodwill is funded by a massive network of retail thrift stores. In 2010, Goodwills collectively earned more than $4 billion and used 84 percent of that revenue to provide employment, training and support services to more than 2.4 million individuals.

It traces its roots to the early 1900s as a Methodist outreach ministry in Boston.

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