Goodwill, Savers Thrift Stores Find New Venues

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Aug. 9, 2010 12:00 am  

Brian Itzkowitz, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, said the current retail climate has made large spaces more affordable for the nonprofit.

Savers does not allow its partners to disclose the dollar amounts it contributes to the nonprofits, Cater said.

Since Savers' inception in 1954, the company has generated more than $1 billion for 120 local charities and nonprofits, Gaugl said.


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Willis Smith is part of West Group LLC, which owns Bowman Station in west Little Rock, where Savers recently opened.

He said about a year passed between CompUSA closing and Savers opening. The thrift store chain signed a one-year lease, with an option to renew for 10 years.

Smith did not disclose the lease rate for the Savers space, but said it was about 25 percent less than what CompUSA was paying and would eventually increase to within the range it commanded before.

The environment for large retail space has been tough since the recession began.

"That first year, no one was doing anything, so we felt lucky to have anybody," he said. "And I think they'll be a good tenant."

It is likely that more people are shopping at thrift stores because the recession has caused consumers to be more bargain conscious, said Smith, whose wife, Elaine, owns Elaine's Closet, an upscale Little Rock consignment store.

"It's all shopping habits," he said. "I think everybody's gotten more conservative."



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