Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is reopening many of its 76 retail stores on Tuesday and Wednesday where possible, but its boutique Vintage Vogue stores will remain closed permanently.
CEO and President Kent Kramer said the regional not-for-profit made the decision to permanently close the three Vintage Vogue stores to focus on its regular retail operations during the return from statewide pandemic restrictions.
Goodwill launched the first of three Vintage Vogue stores in 2011. Though the format’s curated donations were able to fetch higher prices, operating the stores was a costly endeavor, Kramer said, and the stores in Indianapolis and Bloomington were consistently the lowest-performing of Goodwill’s retail locations.
“As we look at basically 90 years in the thrift business, we know that the most efficient and productive avenue for us to get our donations from the point of donation to the sales floor is just through our regular retail stores,” Kramer said. “Now, we want to be as efficient and productive as possible.”
The roughly 45 employees who worked at Vintage Vogues in Broad Ripple, Fountain Square and Bloomington will be offered positions at other Goodwill stores, according to Kramer. But employees might not find immediate positions nearby because Indianapolis and Bloomington have extended restrictions on retail operations through May 15, 11 days beyond those ordered by the state.
Those workers join the roughly 2,300 retail Goodwill employees who were furloughed in mid-March due to the closure of nonessential businesses throughout the state. At the same time, Kramer said Goodwill had to lay off 50 workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kramer said Goodwill does not currently have plans to close any of its other retail locations.
As the state starts to reopen, Kramer said Goodwill is taking a number of precautions regarding its store and donation operations. A skeleton crew has continued to accept donations throughout the shutdown (including donations of personal protection equipment for hospitals and health care workers), and has taken special measures to avoid touching items until the potential for lingering viruses diminished.
Kramer said Goodwill stores are also putting up sneeze guards at registers, temporarily blocking off changing rooms, planning for 50% customer capacity, establishing social-distancing measures and requiring employees to wear personal protection equipment.
Goodwill is recommending customers wear PPE at regular retail stores and requiring they wear it at outlet locations.
“We’re anxious to get opened back up,” Kramer said.