North Versailles Goodwill outlet to sell items by pound

| Saturday, June 5, 2010

Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Pennsylvania is about to give the term "outlet shopping" a new meaning in the region.

Known for deep discounts at its 19 stores, Goodwill will sell new and used clothing and other items by the pound when it opens an outlet store in October in North Versailles.

Clothes, accessories, housewares and toys will cost $1.39 a pound at the former Ames department store on Route 30.

Per-pound prices drop to 99 cents for 20 or more pounds, and 59 cents for 50 pounds of clearance items from other Goodwill stores. Senior citizens get an extra 15 percent discount.

The nonprofit organization plans a hub for several of its activities at the long-vacant, 96,000-square-foot building. Goodwill's popular auto auction will move from its current site in North Huntingdon to the property. Online sales also will be run from the building, and there will be a training center for employees along with development, transportation and distribution operations.

Goodwill signed a 15-year lease for the store, which had been vacant since Ames closed eight years ago.

Another Goodwill outlet has operated since July 2006 in Bridgeport, W.Va. Merchandise that doesn't sell after three to six weeks at regular Goodwill stores is shipped there for further discounts.

Outlet stores "give our customers one last chance to acquire the merchandise before it is sent on to another firm that could salvage and recycle the items for sale globally," said Bob Stape, vice president of retail. Unsold clothing, for example, becomes "rag salvage" that goes to underdeveloped nations or may be shredded for industrial uses.

About 120 people are expected to be employed at the North Versailles center. The center will generate about $80,000 in sales through the end of this year, Stape said, and about $1.5 million in 2011.

The Glimcher Group, which owns the building, will renovate it to accommodate Goodwill. However, Goodwill probably will spend several hundred thousand dollars on work there, Stape said.

Goodwill plans to open nine stores this year in areas including Robinson, Natrona Heights, Murrysville, Gibsonia and Lawrenceville, where the nonprofit will establish its local headquarters, Stape said. Goodwill sold its South Side headquarters and other buildings in Febuary to Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services.

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