Utahns looking for bargains will soon have another thrifty option.
Goodwill Industries plans to open its first Utah outlet in April 2012 at the former Ethan Allen store at 4545 S. 900 East in Millcreek, offering such items as clothing, housewares, toys and others sure to be seen as treasures by thrifty shoppers.
Utah is the last of the contiguous 48 states to get a Goodwill store, said Bill Collins, vice president of the Easter Seals/Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain Region. The agency is excited to expand to the Salt Lake area market, which will be the region's largest, Collins said, joining stores in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
"I think the competition in Salt Lake might be a potential detractor," Collins said, citing the deeply ingrained Deseret Industries. "At the same time, it's a vastly populated state compared to our current territory."
Collins believes thrift-store shoppers are always eager for another place to find a bargain, and Park City's Gary Cave agrees. He stopped by the downtown Deseret Industries Wednesday afternoon in search of a keyboard.
"Alternatives are great," Cave said, adding that he is certain the Salt Lake market can sustain another thrift store.
An email seeking comment from Deseret Industries, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was not returned Wednesday.
The 28,000-square-foot former furniture store purchased by Goodwill is currently being remodeled, and is on track to hold a grand opening celebration on April 26, said Chelle Feist, Goodwill's community relations officer. The store will begin accepting donations on Jan. 2 in order to process and prepare donations for the opening.
"We know we'll clear out a lot in the grand opening," Feist said, adding that the most recent store to open in Kalispell, Mont. turned over its merchandise three or four times on its first day.
Proceeds from the store will fund Easter Seals programs in Utah, which are already active and receive funding from other regional stores, Feist said. Easter Seals runs several sites throughout the state, offering programs ranging from therapy for autistic children to services for seniors. The store itself will also provide service to the community, Feist said, as a job training site for people with disabilities or low-income job seekers.
The organization has been serving communities since 1902, when it was founded in Boston by Methodist minister Edgar J. Helms, according to Goodwill's website. Helms collected used goods from the city's wealthy neighborhoods, gave the items to the poor to be repaired and mended, then sold or used by those in need. The model continues in Goodwill stores today.
The store is just a foot in the door for Goodwill, which hopes to open three Utah stores in the next five years, Feist said. Goodwill is so thrilled to be in Utah, the organization plans to send its top brass to the Millcreek store opening.
The Millcreek Goodwill store at 4545 S. 900 East Utah's first is expected to open April 26. The store will begin accepting donations Jan. 2. Goodwill is also seeking businesses and other agencies to partner with on donation drives. For more information, contact Lee Manwaring at 801-673-7599.