Spreading Goodwill: Impressive turnout for opening of La Jolla Goodwill store

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A security guard manages the flow of bargain-hunting customers lined up to enter the new Goodwill store at 7631 Girard Ave. on June 27. Pat Sherman photos

By Pat Sherman

Hundreds of people attended the grand opening of La Jolla’s new Goodwill store at 7631 Girard Ave. on Thursday, June 27, with customers lined up down the block at 9 a.m. waiting to shop for resale bargains.

“I’m just in awe of what some women are buying,” said Pacific Beach resident Carol Klein, who was second in line when the store opened at 10 a.m. “One lady had a cart full of clothes. She said she has an online business, so she’s buying and then reselling.”

Though Klein emerged from the store at about 11 a.m. with only a metal magazine rack to hold her iPad, others such as La Jolla resident Francisca Zamora exercised less restraint, filling an entire shopping cart with clothing for her family.

“The prices are great,” said Zamora, noting that she doesn’t normally shop at thrift stores, but read about the store in

La Jolla Light

and arrived early for the opening. “The people are not rude, which I like — even the people shopping,” she added.

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La Jolla resident Francisca Zamora waits to pay for a cart full of clothes she purchased for her family during the grand opening.

Beth Forsberg, vice-president of operations for Goodwill Industries of San Diego County, said the store hopes to set itself aside with its customer service.

“We’ve been working very hard to make the customer experience top of the line … a little more relationship (centered), where people can come in and say, ‘Let me know when you get my size in,’” Forsberg said. “In our regular stores we don’t do that. … I think we’re definitely going to try and listen to the community and what they want.”

Forsberg said the store’s rear donation center, which opened weeks before the retail store fronting Girard Avenue, is receiving more high-end donations than other locations.

“We got some of the top brands in the nation through the back door yesterday — Prada, Gucci — I couldn’t believe it … a lot of brand-spanking new men’s and women’s shoes in there … and a lot of high-end summer sandals,” she said.

Shoppers included people from around the county and a number of tourists, such as Denver’s Nancy Williams-Johnson.

Following her shopping excursion, Williams-Johnson held a white plastic bag filled with clothes in front of her like a trophy.

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Suzanne Lajoie of Eastlake and Dolores Ward of Pacific Beach shop at the Goodwill store on June 27.

“I paid $84 for all this — I mean, name brand, really good stuff … and I got the senior discount, too,” Williams-Johnson exclaimed. “Now I have to figure out how I’m going to get it in an already overstuffed suitcase.”

A man driving down Girard Avenue in a white SUV looked over at the crowd still waiting to enter the store nearly two hours after it opened, and shook his head in disbelief.

“I don’t think most men understand this,” Williams-Johnson said. “My significant other won’t understand. He’ll be mortified. He’ll go, ‘You mean you didn’t go to the Del Coronado? You didn’t go to the beach? You went to a

Goodwill

?’ ”

Though the store also carries men’s clothing and shoes, about 80 percent of those in line during the opening were female.

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