Howdy folks, and welcome to HHR. If you’re one of our regular thrifting viewers, then the changes at Goodwill are likely not unseen to you. In case you haven’t been in a bit, things at Goodwill have been changing. One of the most apparent changes with the development of the Goodwill Computer Works concept. Originally debuting in Austin in 1997, the concept would expand to Houston nearly 10 years later. It seems like Goodwill Houston has always been a bit behind, in new concepts, while other Texas-based Goodwill chains began to expand on the outlet concept years ago, our Outlets didn’t receive an official debut until 2020 (although the conversion process did start a bit before this). Some of the biggest changes have come more recently, like adopting a new theme leaving the Texas Flag behind, and repealing the “ID Discount” programs, for Seniors, Teachers, EMS, etc.. The new changes seem to largely be the result of a change in Goodwill Houston’s Board of directors. Some unannounced but seemingly planned changes include the implementation of Goodwill “Connect” locations, which, unlike the Select Stores, sell new merchandise as well. It also seems that these Connect locations infer that a Job Center is part of the store. A feature that was not always consistent in Goodwill Houston’s former implementation. For the most part, these updates represent the only upkeep many locations have received since Goodwill’s most recent growth spurt in the early 2000s. One downside of this leadership change has been a halt of new stores.
While over the past few years, one location was moved, and a few “Select Stores” were repurposed as Outlets, little has been accomplished in building new stores from scratch. Goodwill opened a large number of stores here in the early-to-mid 2010s and it seems unrealistic that all of these locations could have survived since the stores were probably cannibalizing business and inventory from other Goodwill locations. On top of that, it’s possible that Goodwill might have received sweetheart lease deals from shopping center owners looking to fill space after the economic recession of the late 2000s. Once things rebounded a bit, perhaps shopping centers were less willing to give Goodwill favorable deals. The final new Houston Goodwill store to open was Brenham in 2017. Since then the following locations have closed.
- 12533 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077 – Westheimer at Dairy Ashford (Closed 2020)
- 21169 State Highway 249, Houston, TX 77070 – 249 at Louetta (Closed 2020)
- 10903 Northwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77092 – 290 & W. 34th (Closed 2020)
- 9215 West Rd, Houston, TX 77064 – West Road and Beltway 8 (Closed 2020)
- 330 Farm to Market 1960 Rd W, Houston, TX 77090 – 1960 at I-45 (Closed 2020)
- 2401 N Fry Rd, Katy, TX 77449 – Fry at Saums (Closed 2021)
- 4042 Lake Shore Harbour Dr, Missouri City, TX 77459 – Highway 6 and Trammel Fresno (Closed 2021)
- 14464 Hillcroft St, Houston, TX 77085 – Beltway at Fort Bend Parkway (Closed 2021)
Fellow Thrifter, Anonymous in Houston had this to say on the Goodwill Changes: A large number of the Goodwill stores which have closed recently are stores where I used to shop. In some ways, the reduction of locations here in Northwest Houston is to be expected. Not even counting some of my favorite Goodwill locations closing or being turned into outlet stores, the shopping experience at normal Goodwills is not quite what it used to be. Like at many other retailers, Goodwill stores seem quite short-staffed recently especially on the weekends when these stores get quite busy. Epically long lines at the checkouts are not unusual. Furthermore, at least some locations have removed electrical outlets in the electronics departments which makes testing electronics almost impossible. It seems that other Goodwill divisions across the US are adding more and more new items to their stores. This example that Albertsons Florida Blog covered of a Goodwill of Southwest Florida location shows just how many new items some Goodwills are selling these days. As someone with almost no interest in shopping for new items at Goodwill, I am increasingly finding myself disinterested in shopping at Goodwill. This is a shame because browsing Goodwill used to be quite a hobby of mine just a few years ago, but there have been too many changes at Goodwill which aren’t for the better as I see things.
No one knows exactly what the future holds for Goodwill of Houston, however it’s likely we’ll continue to see some changes. The most noticeable being the adoption of the new logo and color scheme. One other factor worth noting is that Goodwill now often utilizing their Auction Service “Shop Goodwill“. While I believe this shift to ecommerce is more associated with the new regime, this practice does date back to before the board change. I’d recommend you check out your local Goodwill, to see if any Texas Flag remnants remain, and what new tricks they have up their sleeves. For actual thrifting, I’d suggest just about anywhere else!