Finding great bargains at Goodwill

August 8, 2008 7:40:52 PM PDT
With inflation taking its toll on many of us, good bargains are hard to find these days. Now more and more people are turning to non-traditional sources to purchase clothes and other household items.

As you might expect, sales at most retail stores are either flat or down from a year ago. But things are quite different for another store some of you might never have considered going to: Goodwill.

It's a weekday afternoon at the goodwill boutique in San Francisco. A steady flow of people come in to browse for bargains.

James Clarke of San Francisco visits second hand stores like Goodwill frequently.

"Sometimes you find things that are a fourth of a price you'll pay at a name brand store, and you'll find at times designer clothes that haven't even been worn yet," said Clarke.

7 On Your Side found items 20 to 30 percent off from such designer and big name labels as Perry Ellis, Tommy Bahamas and Nike.

The regulars at this store say good finds are out there for the taking.

"Prices are so high everywhere else. Here it's higher than before, but still affordable," said Sevtalma Momima from San Francisco.

Goodwill says sales nationally are up nearly six percent over the year before after seeing similar gains last year. At other retailers, it's quite different.

"Retailers presently are in a struggle mode because I think what's happened here, we're within a perfect storm," said Helen Bulwick from New Market Solutions.

She says there's a direct correlation between the down economy and increased sales at Goodwill. But bargain prices aren't the only reason to shop there.

"They don't pay tax here," said Goodwill manager Patricia Demaneliz.

"It's all tax free?" asked the 7 On Your Side producer.

"Yeah, its tax free," said Demaneliz.

Gena Galenski has taken full advantage of the tax advantage and bargains at Goodwill. She invited 7 On Your Side into her home in Mill Valley to show off her finds.

"You save a lot of money. You're helping people get training and education that they need to be employable. It's a win-win for everybody," said Galenski.

Gena agreed to fashion the various outfits she purchased from Goodwill -- all she said for under $40.


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