What Is Goodwill Store

Goodwill is a chain of thrift stores that is popular across the United States. The stores provide an affordable source for secondhand consumer goods, including clothing, toys, appliances, cooking utensils, and accessories. In this article, we will take a closer look at what Goodwill is, how it works, and what sets it apart from other thrift stores.

History of Goodwill

Goodwill was founded in Boston in 1902 by a Methodist minister named Edgar J. Helms. Originally named the Morgan Memorial Industries, the organization aimed to provide jobs to the less privileged, including people with disabilities or those who were formerly incarcerated. Helms started by collecting donations from people in wealthier neighborhoods and then hired people to repair and resell the items.

The organization changed its name to Goodwill in 1915, and by the 1920s, it had expanded to other cities in the United States. Today, Goodwill has more than 3,200 stores in the US and Canada, and it is one of the largest thrift store chains in the world.

How Goodwill Works

Goodwill’s business model is based on the donation and resale of used items. People who donate items to Goodwill can receive a receipt that can be used as a tax write-off. The organization then sorts through the items, repairs them if needed, and resells them in their stores. The revenue generated from the sales is used to fund job training programs and other services for people in need.

What sets Goodwill apart from other thrift stores is their commitment to their mission of providing jobs and job training. They offer a wide range of services to help job seekers, including resume writing, career counseling, and skills training. Goodwill also partners with other businesses to provide job placement opportunities for their program participants.

Goodwill stores can be found in communities across the country. Each store has a unique inventory that is constantly changing, which means shoppers never know what they might find. The items at Goodwill can be up to 90% off the retail price, making it an affordable shopping option for people on a tight budget. Goodwill also holds regular sales and promotions to help shoppers save even more money.

Comparing Goodwill to Other Thrift Stores

While Goodwill is one of the largest thrift store chains in the world, there are other organizations that offer similar services. Here are some of the key differences between Goodwill and other thrift stores:

Salvation Army: Like Goodwill, the Salvation Army is a nonprofit organization that operates thrift stores. However, the Salvation Army is a religious institution, which may be a selling point for some shoppers but may be a turnoff for others. Also, the Salvation Army has a more limited focus on job training and placement.

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that focuses on building homes for low-income families. They operate ReStores, which are thrift stores that sell items related to home improvement, such as furniture, appliances, and building materials. Habitat for Humanity has a narrower focus than Goodwill but may be a better option for people who are specifically looking for items related to home improvement.

Thrift shops and consignment stores: While thrift shops and consignment stores are not typically part of a nonprofit organization like Goodwill, they do offer a similar shopping experience. Thrift shops and consignment stores often have a more eclectic selection of items, and the pricing can vary depending on the store. However, they do not have the same social mission as Goodwill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are the items at Goodwill cleaned before they are sold?

A: Yes, Goodwill sorts through all donations and cleans them before they are put on the shelves. However, shoppers should still inspect items closely before buying them.

Q: Can I return an item to Goodwill?

A: Most Goodwill stores do not accept returns, so it’s important to inspect items closely before buying them.

Q: Can I donate anything to Goodwill?

A: Goodwill accepts most items, including clothing, toys, books, and household items. However, there are some items they cannot accept, such as mattresses, weapons, and hazardous materials.

Q: How can I support Goodwill’s mission?

A: In addition to shopping at Goodwill, people can support the organization by making donations, volunteering, or participating in their job training programs.


Goodwill is a thrift store chain that has been providing affordable secondhand goods and job training opportunities for over a century. Their commitment to their mission and the communities they serve sets them apart from other thrift stores. By shopping at Goodwill, people can save money, support a worthwhile cause, and help create job opportunities for those in need.