Goodwill may not be the first name that leaps to mind when shoppers think of Old Metairie, but that could change this week when the nonprofit organization opens Unique Goodwill, a boutique-style store featuring designer clothing and upscale household items.
The store, which will open at 480 Metairie Road on Thursday morning, is the first of Goodwill’s new concept stores in the metro area, said Sabrina Written, director of public relations and marketing for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana.
The Unique Goodwill store is smaller than a typical Goodwill, and the 4,800-square-foot sales floor will be laid out and appointed more like a traditional boutique, Written said.
The designer labels available when the store opens have been culled from donations made at other Goodwill outlets, but Goodwill expects the Metairie location will help bring in many of the brands — such as Jimmy Choo and St. John Knits — that Unique Goodwill will sell.
“We really wanted to put a store in there that fit the neighborhood,” Written said. “Our hope is that we get some real quality donations that will help us stock the store.”
Written said there are about 60 upscale Goodwill stores around the country, though they go by various names, including Rare in some parts of California and Deja Blue in Denver. The concept allows Goodwill to tap a customer base that wouldn’t typically shop at a Goodwill store.
However, just like at a traditional Goodwill store, proceeds from the apparel, home goods and accessories sold there will help fund Goodwill’s charitable endeavors, which include employment initiatives for people with physical and developmental disabilities, mentoring for at-risk youths and re-entry programs for ex-convicts.
Written said a third of the people Goodwill employs are disabled, and 88 percent of the proceeds from its retail stores go to fund its programs.
Written said there have been some negative comments about a Goodwill store opening in Old Metairie but nothing that amounted to organized opposition.
“We’ve seen this kind of reaction before,” she said. “We had this same type of reaction in Lakeview and in Mandeville, but hopefully when people see what (Unique Goodwill) is, they’ll support what we stand for.”
Written said there are no immediate plans for any other Unique Goodwill stores in the southeast Louisiana market.
Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana has been focusing its efforts on renovating its locations, though it opened a store on Manhattan Boulevard in Harvey in February and has stores planned for LaPlace and Boutte.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.