Blue, a Goodwill boutique store with a focus on designer clothes, shoes and accessories sold at Goodwill prices, is set to open Sept. 5 in downtown Olympia, the second blue store for the nonprofit organization.
Tacoma Goodwill, which operates Goodwill stores in 15 counties, including Thurston, opened its first blue store in Tacoma’s Proctor District last year.
Similar to that opening, Goodwill wanted to open blue in downtown Olympia because it is surrounded by other small stores and boutiques and is the “perfect fit for the heart of downtown,” Goodwill spokesman George White said.
He also added that the new location at 534 Capitol Way S., shares a common wall with Starbucks, “which doesn’t hurt.”
Goodwill is the second organization this week in Olympia to announce plans to fill longtime commercial vacancies in the area.
South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity is moving to west Olympia to fill a spot left vacant by the Dollar Store, while Goodwill’s blue store opens in space formerly occupied by the restaurant La Taqueria.
The store will employ seven. Anyone can apply for a job at Goodwill, White said, but preference is given to those who have disabilities or disadvantages, who comprise 80 percent of their workforce.
Once the store opens, Tacoma Goodwill will operate five stores in Thurston County: two in Lacey, two in Olympia and one in Yelm, altogether employing 190.
The store in west Olympia is Tacoma Goodwill’s biggest in terms of building size and sales volume, although revenue figures are not disclosed, White said.
Goodwill decided to open the blue stores as a way to squeeze the most resources out of the donations the nonprofit receives, which include designer items.
The Proctor store was well-received, White said, and the organization is considering a third store.
Tacoma Goodwill operates retail stores and the blue store in Thurston County, but it also is known for operating outlet stores and recycling and salvage centers.
When clothes, for example, don’t sell at the retail stores, they get sent to the outlet stores and are sold by the pound. If those don’t sell, they go to the recycling and salvage centers and are broken down so the raw material can be sold.
“At the end of the day, very little goes to the landfill,” he said.
Revenue generated by stores helps to support job training and job placement efforts, he said.
Olympia Downtown Association board member and business owner Jeff Trinin said it’s good to have a retailer fill an empty space.
“We welcome them to our mix,” he said.
The blue store will be open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. It also accepts donations. For those interested in applying for a job, go to TacomaGoodwill.org.Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org