CHESHIRE —Meaghan O’Meara, of Milford, was surrounded by clothes on racks and stacks of gray totes Wednesday afternoon.
O’Meara, a longtime employee of Goodwill Industries, was one of about 40 staffers prepping the non-profit’s newest store, at 935 S. Main St., for its grand opening Thursday. It is Goodwill’s 15th retail location in Connecticut.
“You want to look at something from a shopper’s perspective,” O’Meara said of how she and other employees process items.
O’Meara was hanging sweaters, shirts, pants and other clothes, attaching price tags.
“I just want to make sure when customers go through the store, they see something nice, that they’re going to want to put to good use,” she said. “It’s a good feeling coming into work and knowing that you’re here for a bigger cause and the cause really involves the community.”
In addition to clothing, furniture, electronics, books, and small appliances, the store also offers toys, sporting goods, musical instruments and more.
Just over three months ago, the more-than-1,200-square-foot space in a plaza next to Advance Auto Parts had been a Pier 1 Imports store.
The funds raised through retail sales, after covering the store’s overhead, enable Goodwill Industries to continue to provide individuals with disabilities employment, education and recreational opportunities, said H. Richard Borer Jr., president of Goodwill Southern New England.
Borer said the organization had long run an attended donation center across the street from the new store location. The new store now has an in-house donation center, but the existing center will remain open for a few more months.
Borer said the popularity of that long-standing donation center, which has averaged more than 200 donations a week, was one of the reasons why the organization’s leaders decided to open a store.
The store’s opening comes just before a new school year.
“Back to school is a good time for us,” Borer said. “Kids grow so fast. A lot of the stuff we get, children’s clothing, may have been worn maybe once or twice.”
But families whose resources might be limited are not the only shoppers Goodwill appeals to.
“We also get the thrift shopper and those people who are looking for that little treasure —collectibles that you’re just not going to find anywhere else,” Borer said.
Dennis Ballester of Waterbury was in his second day on the job Wednesday, placing stickers on various items that would soon be placed on shelves.
“It’s nice to be able to take some of the things that someone doesn’t want and provide them to people that do want them,” Ballester said.
“You’ll find a lot of cool stuff,” Ballester said, adding he had come across a complete “Lord of The Rings” trilogy DVD boxset.