As the retail landscape shift and changes, Goodwill of Central Iowa has grown to adapt to the evolving needs of our customers. Shoppers can still get great deals on unique finds, as well as donate at any one of the 19 locations throughout Central Iowa. What many shoppers don’t know however, is that we also offer these great deals with an online platform, shopgoodwill.com.
The site, which was established in 1999 by the Goodwill of Orange County, has grown to include 127 participating Goodwill organizations from across the country. The concept being quite simply that by offering items online, we are reaching a much broader audience, one who is actively shopping on the internet.
For many shoppers, an online thrift store is a dream come true and a great time saver. With shopgoodwill, rather than hunting in multiple stores for that certain something, it’s just a few clicks away. Goodwill of Central Iowa joined the site in 2002 with one team member posting items and working on the operations of the site. Since then, the GCI shopgoodwill team has grown to employ 10 staff members.
Items make their way to the site through a collaborative vetting process established by our retail team. Stores are equipped with descriptions of the types of items which are appropriate to list on the site. As donations are sorted at the store level, items on the list are set aside and routinely sent to Goodwill headquarters where staff evaluate, process and list items on the site. The team of curators who source for our Styled By Goodwill Boutique also spend time finding treasures to be listed online.
The process for the buyer is very similar to that of eBay or other online auction site. Items are typically listed at a beginning price of $5 with a seven-day auction time. Shoppers can bid on items and will receive notifications if they are outbid and when they win an auction. After auctions end and the item has been paid for, it’s either shipped to the buyer, or can be picked up locally at our Johnston store during the shopgoodwill window hours, which were recently expanded the pick-up hours in to best accommodate the schedule of those picking up locally.
- Monday (12/24 & 12/31): 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Wednesday (12/26): 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Friday (12/28): 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Saturday (12/29): 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Kim Sires, Goodwill of Central Iowa’s e-commerce manager, has seen sales trends come and go in her 15 years of experience. She shared that advances in technology and lifestyle changes affect what are popular selling items on the site. For example, media sales have changed significantly as online streaming and sites like Netflix rose to prevalence. Digital cameras and video cameras don’t get the interest they used to due to smartphones with high quality cameras.
On the other end of the spectrum, Kim tells us film cameras have climbed in sales, perhaps reflecting that digital natives find the idea of film a fascinating departure from what they’ve grown up with.
“At any given time, we have a great variety of musical instruments, fine and vintage jewelry, toy collectibles (Star Wars, Legos, vintage farm toys), collectible cookware (Pyrex, Le Creuset) as well as name brand clothing, shoes and accessories,” said Sires. “These have always been great sellers for the site.”
Similar to our traditional stores, shopgoodwill has its own regular customers. Kim shared that one local buyer purchases Nintendo Wii game systems and Gameboys to donate to local hospitals children’s wings. She cited crafters who buy jewelry lots to make upcycled creations, Pyrex collectors and even truck drivers who plan their purchases and pick-ups based on their cross-country driving route!
Kim shared some of the most interesting and top selling items during her tenure:
- The highest auction of all time: Subaru vehicle over $5,000 in 2006
- Other notable sales:
- Pop-up camper that sold for $3,725
- Vintage Bacon 5-string banjo that sold for $2280.88
- 1783 Washington one cent coin that sold for $600 (a $600 penny!)
- Folding kayak that sold for $900
Goodwill of Central Iowa takes seriously the responsibility entrusted to us when we receive donations and feel an obligation to the generous donors who supply them to receive the best value we can for the items we sell.
“The most rewarding part of working with shopgoodwill is yielding the greatest value from donated items to support the mission of Goodwill,” said Sires. “If we can give people great deals on items they’re looking for, that’s just an added benefit.”
Beginning in January, shopgoodwill pick hours inside the Johnston store will change to:
- Mondays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Wednesdays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Fridays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Saturdays: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Take a look around at www.shopgoodwill.com/desmoines and see what treasures you can discover today.