What’s up with Goodwill’s new shade of Blue? The cause of all the changes and closings!

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.

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!

9 comments

  1. Ah, one more thing! I wanted to add something about the Houston Goodwill stores. At one time, they were branded as “Super Goodwill” or something like that, at least the one on Northwest Freeway near 34th Street. You could even still see the labelscar years later. They were eventually branded as “Goodwill Select”. I have no idea if the “Super Goodwill” was just larger square footage or what. This must have been around 1999-ish.

  2. It should be noted that the Florida Goodwill stores are very different than the ones here in the Houston area. When I was younger, the only Goodwill in College Station (run by Heart of Texas Goodwill, which operates in Waco-Temple-Killeen) was a run-down store running out of a third of a former Kmart. Meanwhile, the Lakeland Goodwill which I visited not too long after its opening in 2003, was a comparative palace. It wasn’t really much larger, but it was in an all-new building with a much better selection and presentation of merchandise. My dad bought a few shirts that I think some of them he still has.

  3. Oh wow, real lawn darts! The kind that can injure. While they aren’t rare, necessarily, they aren’t common, even at Goodwill these days. Nice find.

  4. Goodwill on Southmore Ave in Pasadena, Tx (Across from Pasadena mall) has closed as well. Seems like they were in a rush to close. If you google the company still says the regular hours. Very off

    1. Thanks for the update! I was over there a couple of weeks ago and it was still kicking then.

  5. Thanks for the update. I’d like to add that 229 W. Main St. in League City, TX is a recently closed Goodwill. (one of my favorites, next to an also recently closed Palais Royal)
    I believe it just closed about 2 months ago.

    1. Bummer, that’s another Goodwill location I used to shop at at least two or three times. The Texas City location in the old Randall’s/Albertsons location had a lot of good stuff in the few visits I made there, but it closed a few years ago when the shopping center turned that space into a Ross/Aldi. Anyway, as for the League City location, I believe Gordon Food Service is putting one of their grocery stores in that shopping center. That’s the plan at least.

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