Goodwill stores have been popping up in middle and upper-middle class neighborhoods across the state. The new stores are bright, clean and the racks resemble those in department stores. Because of that image and the slumping economy stores across the state are seeing a 25 percent or more increase in the number of shoppers over this time last year.
"Now we are seeing more middle class shoppers, but they are there not just for the fun of it and the thrill of it, but also because they know a good bargain when they see one," said Spokesman Phyllis Weiss. "Unfortunately more people are needing good bargains."
Goodwill used to emphasize great bargains and hunting for the perfect item, but Weiss said even that slogan has changed.
"Now we really want people to think of Goodwill for cost cutting, for stretching the budget, for being economical for their families and feeling good about being able to find some good quality items at great prices," she said.
At this time, Weiss said donations are holding steady, but as the economy continues to change donations could decline.
"Some of it is counter intuitive, you would think that donations are going to be down and to date they have not been they have actually risen," she said.
However, many stores have seen a decline in the quality of donated items and Weiss said she wants to remind people that with more people shopping, good donations are more important than ever before.