Are you a fan of scavenger hunts? How about bargain shopping? Do you like to recycle? My personal answer to all three questions is yes! That’s why I’m excited to share a ‘not-so-hidden’ gem of the Triad. I recently visited the Goodwill’s Outlet Store located at 2760 Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem.
I must start by confessing; I’ve been shopping at Goodwill, before Goodwill was considered cool or hip. It all began I when I was in high school, I loved fun t-shirts from all over the country. I had quite a collection and honestly have never really outgrown the trend. To this day, check my closet and you will find a fun collection of funky t-shirts.
I’m sure most people have donated to Goodwill at some point their lives and have a general understanding of what Goodwill does and where to money goes – so I will skip those details. However, besides the standard stand-alone retail stores, the Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina has three Goodwill Outlets. I know the name sounds pretty bland, but don’t let that be misleading. The Goodwill Outlet is a totally new way to shop and a place to find amazing bargains, if you are willing to devote a bit of time and effort. The Goodwill complex features a retail store, an outlet store and a Career Connections Center. The Outlet is located on the left side of the building and is clearly marked. When you walk inside you will see a sea of blue rolling bins that are filled with everything under the sun. The inventory is constantly rotating, so you never know what will be available for purchase. I spoke with a Goodwill employee and she informed me that the majority of the items found in the Outlet are those items that are not good enough (stained, torn clothing), items that have been on the shelves in the retail store that did not sale or smaller items just not worth pricing. You purchase merchandise by weight in the Outlet. Current prices are:
- $1.10/ lb – Clothing, Housewares, Accessories and Toys
- $0.59/ lb – Book, Glassware and Dishware
While you are filling up your shopping cart, don’t worry about sorting your goods by categories – you can do that at checkout. The employees are helpful in making sure you are charged correctly. There also is a door in the very back of the store that opens to a patio area that houses lawn and garden items which are priced individually. Large items (located at the front of the store and around the walls) and electronics are also priced separately. I rolled up my sleeves and started digging through the bins. (One helpful tip is to wear rubber gloves while digging through the bins if you are not a fan of germs.) I dug through lots of books and clothes and random toys through my visit. Here are some of the items the Outlet had to offer during my visit: My favorite find of the day was this amazing festive holiday sweater and my husband was proud of the small Indian statue.
One of the strangest things that happened while I was at the Outlet was the rolling out of newly stocked bins. A crowd gathered in the aisle way next to where the new bin was going to be positioned. As the employee brought out the first bin, she yelled for everyone to get out of the way and not to touch ant of the items until she said it was okay. Everyone waited patiently until she had brought out all four bins. When she gave the go ahead, everyone pounced on the bin like a lion on its’ prey. I heard glass breaking, things being thrown around and people yelling at each other. I couldn’t help but giggle at how silly these folks were acting over second-hand goods. I was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. There was nothing important in enough in those bins to make we want to join the shenanigans…but, boy it was entertaining. One other thing that slightly disturbed me was people using the store as a daycare for their children. I saw people handing their children toys and then allowing them to play on the floor while they worked through the bins. I also observed children left unattended in the shopping carts while parents were shopping. One child was in his pajamas sleeping in the cart covered with a blanket. If you really want to do some intense shopping, I suggest you leave your kids at home. When it was time to purchase the items unearthed during my visit, I headed towards the front of the store. There are two scales – one scale is located on the countertop for smaller items and the other is large enough to roll your shopping cart on top of. Once you check out there is a self-serve bagging station, located by the door. Everyone should visit the Outlet at least once to just check it out. If you enjoy bargain hunting, plan to allocate at least an hour. Don’t rush! Take your time sorting through the bins. You never know what you may uncover!!!
To learn more about the Goodwill Outlet Store and Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, be sure to visit their official website. Also be sure to Like their Facebook page – it features upcoming special events, sale information and store news.