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Goodwill Offers Back to School Tax-Free Bargains All Year

Shoppers are ready for August's once-a-year back to school tax-free holiday, but Manchester's Goodwill offers tax-free shopping year round.

would like to remind the parents of school children that shopping at its thrift stores, such as the one in Manchester, is always tax-free—no holiday required. Goodwill is a nonprofit organization that sells donated goods in order to raise money for its job training and rehabilitation programs.

“We receive thousands of new items in our stores daily,” said MERS-Goodwill District Manager Latrice Clayborne. “All tax-free.”

Clayborne said that shoppers can find many bargains at Goodwill, including new items, designer label clothes and backpacks. The stores often receive surplus inventory from businesses--items that were never used and still have tags.

“Children’s clothing is $2 a piece, which really helps parents out,” she said. Most clothing items at Goodwill are priced by category rather than individually. Adult-sized jeans are sold for $4 (no matter the brand), and shirts go for $3.

She also pointed out that Goodwill is a valuable source for college students, whether they are searching for fashionable jeans at bargain prices or inexpensive furniture for the dorm or apartment.

“In addition to the low prices, we run a weekly sale on all items in the store,” Clayborne said. The sale system is also how the stores keep the inventory fresh—each item goes on sale after spending three weeks on the rack. Items are color coded as they come in, with each week’s new inventory assigned a different color tag—either red, blue, yellow or green. On the fourth week, every item in a color group goes on sale for 50 percent off.

“After four weeks it will be pulled off the floor and sent to a different location or be recycled,” Clayborne said. Items pulled from the racks are sent to an outlet center at 3728 Market St. in St. Louis.

The outlet store opened last year and was the first of its kind. Items here are sold by the pound, with an estimated 2,000 new items hitting the tables every 20 minutes. Goodwill estimates that 500,000 pounds of merchandise will go through the outlet store each week. Books and glassware are sold for 59 cents a pound, and everything else is price at 79 cents a pound. Some larger items may be individually priced, but nothing is more than $15.

“We call it the Circle of Hope,” said Clayborne. “From the donor to the retail store to the outlet store. If it can’t sell, it's recycled. Last year, over 20,000 people in our care got jobs as a result of people donating to us.”

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