By Rachael McMillan
Macklemore became my musician boyfriend when he (and/or Ryan Lewis) penned “Thrift Shop”; the song speaks to me. I could wander the aisles of a resale store for hours hunting for bargains, so it was with great pleasure that I accepted the assignment of reviewing the new Goodwill location in Savoy.
If you haven’t been yet and are wondering exactly where it is, head to the former Pages for All Ages and you will have found it. (If you haven’t been in C-U long enough to remember the once-beloved bookshop, look for Goodwill on the corner of Burwash and Curtis, next to Babyland, the Savoy Schnucks, etc.).
Having taken over Pages’ former location with, it would seem, almost no remodeling (save for adding a few dressing rooms, more on that later), the space looks impressive. If you use the upscale restroom you may temporarily forget that you’re in a non-profit resale store—the only thing that seems to be missing is the piped-in jazz and lingering smell of coffee. The children’s clothing is located in what must have formerly been the youth literature section; a whimsical tree mural still graces that area’s wall.
The main bummer, I felt, was that the prices also seemed “upscale.” I believe the clothing prices are the same as at the Champaign location, and likewise the Savoy store does a discounted colored tag-of-the-week promotion. Still, it seems that they have a bit of a heavy hand with the pricing gun when it comes to the other goods.
Housewares is the spot where I do the vast majority of my browsing, and I had a hard time wrapping my head around some of the prices they were charging for some of the items (especially with Dollar Tree just a few doors down). For example, I bought a set of two small antique-looking (but almost certainly plastic) framed pictures of flowers that had been bundled together in a Ziploc baggie. One of the frames still had a sticker on it reading “$1”. My guess is that they were originally packaged together for a garage sale and then donated when no one coughed up the buck. The price the Savoy Goodwill charged for them was $1.99.
Also, when the clerk checked out a set of toddler pajamas I had selected (matching shirt and shorts, which hung together as a set) I was told that she would have to charge separately for the shirt and the shorts, as if I had grabbed them from two different racks and put the outfit together myself. I guess it’s fair to charge more for a set, but I balked a little at having no way of knowing this ahead of time. I’m sure the clerk doesn’t love having to break this news to customers, either.
The only other complaint I had was that the dressing rooms were added in such a way as to cause a few bottlenecks, especially in light of the fact that they didn’t seem to have a “six items at a time” policy in place on the day that I visited. The lines to use the dressing room were long, as people were allowed to bring in and try on as many pieces of clothing as they wanted.
Bottom line: if you are an avid (or even an occasional) thrift store shopper, definitely check out the new Goodwill location. (The old Goodwill location in Savoy will remain open until Oct. 31.) They may have worked out some of the kinks by then, or what bothered me might not seem like such a big deal to you.
In any case, the organization does good work in our community; here’s wishing them much success in their newest location.