People gathered Friday morning to cut a ribbon to celebrate the new Goodwill store in Hamilton. It opened in late December. PROVIDED

New Hamilton Goodwill store replaces troubled bar, offers affordable shopping option

The clean, bright and well-organized store opened Dec. 27 and had its ribbon cutting Friday.

“If you go to a Goodwill store and look around, all that stuff could be in a landfill, if it wasn’t donated to Goodwill,” Flannery, of Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries. “Not that it would, but it could.”

Bri Combs, 27, of Monroe, was impressed with the store as she shopped Friday morning.

“I think it’s really nice — it’s clean, it’s bright, it’s well-organized,” Combs said. “I already found a boot I like.”

Combs works with the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which works with Goodwill, and was there because of the ribbon-cutting. She couldn’t resist a fashionable pair of boots in time for today’s anticipated storms.

“It doesn’t feel like a thrift store,” Combs said. “It feels like a regular department store that you’d go shopping in.”

The store has 12 employees. Each day, the store calls down to the warehouse in Woodlawn to replenish its items, if they haven’t already been contributed by local residents. Sale items include even designer labels like Ann Taylor, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.

The store is a double win for Hamilton: It replaces for former Doubles Bar, which Hamilton razed after a fatal shooting that happened in the summer of 2016.

Except for the overhead costs, all proceeds from a Goodwill store provide services to homeless veterans and the disabled, including giving them job training and finding them employment, Flannery said.

In 2016, the last year for which information was available, Goodwill served 3,516 clients, providing a variety of 4,599 services, with 1,007 clients placed into jobs where they competed against other people.

The Hamilton store “is exceeding expectations,” said Goodwill manager Ann Walters, who noted Goodwill had a store in Hamilton a number of years ago, and, “we struggled.”

“A lot of stores, when they start, they’re kind of slow to start,” Walters said. “This one is like — she snapped her fingers — people are finding us.”

“We are in a great location,” Walters added. “We didn’t even advertise. We just happened to get our certificate of occupancy, and said, ‘OK, let’s just go ahead and open, and we couldn’t believe the amount of people that came.”

She noted that unlike many stores, this one has easy-to-rearrange racks on wheels that lock, allowing the store to offer 30 percent more products than in most Goodwill stores.

“And we can get it out 30 percent faster, too,” she said.

All local staff were hired.

Goodwill also has other stores locally in Fairfield, Mason, West Chester, Oxford and Lebanon.

“We just love this community,” Walters said. “It’s so cool now. There used to be all these empty buildings, and now everything is going on in Hamilton. We were really excited to come back and be a part of that.”

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