Goodwill Goes Upscale

Friday, November 18, 2011 - 1:52pm

New "Bluetique" boutique is unlike any other thrift outlet.

Goodwill has opened a new store in Ponte Vedra, Florida and it's unlike any other Goodwill in the area.

"This is a boutique," said Amber Russo, vice president of retail sales for Goodwill. "You come here for a certain level of service; you don't want shopping carts banging into your hip."

Russo and Goodwill's Northeast Florida Marketing Manager Amy Koebrick said they helped come up with the idea for a "department-store feeling Goodwill" after taking a look at a similar project in Rochester, New York.

They opened their store Bluetique Thursday at noon with at least 25 customers waiting in line to get in.

"Every single hanger has something unique or beautiful on it," Koebrick said.

They said 75 percent of the items in the store are donated.

Koebrick and Russo have been handpicking some of the nicest items donated at the Ponte Vedra collection center since August.

Koebrick said the average price of an item here will be a little higher than at a typical Goodwill.

"We have a simple T-shirt for $6.99, which is our least expensive item," Koebrick said.

There really is no price ceiling.

The most expensive item in the store is a Chanel bag for $799.

"On eBay this bag is going for $1,325," Russo said.

They said you still can find good steals at Bluetique, but with the high price tag and upscale donations, more money can go to the Goodwill cause.

"We can put a lot more money toward job training," Russo said.

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