Prada, Jimmy Choo and Tory Burch aren’t names typically associated with a Goodwill store.
Those were just a few of the high-end brands available, however, at the recent grand opening of the new Jacksonville Beach home for Goodwill’s Bluetique. Moments after Goodwill of North Florida cut the ribbon on the store’s new home, customers were eagerly collecting clothing, shoes and accessories to try on in the boutique’s elegantly draped fitting rooms.
Merchandise available for purchase on opening day included a wide selection of new and gently used clothing and accessories for both men and women, marked at 40 to 50 percent off the retail price. Many of the items – including apparel, handbags, sunglasses and jewelry – were priced as little as $9.99.
“I am blown away by the selection and the prices,” Jacksonville resident Nikki Hensch said. “I have the biggest pile of stuff already stacked up at the register!”
A first-time visitor to Bluetique, Hensch said a friend told her about the grand opening. “I never went to the previous location because it was too far for me,” she said. “This (location) is so convenient.”
Previously located on A1A in Ponte Vedra Beach, Bluetique relocated to 1036 Beach Blvd. in order to be situated next door to the Jacksonville Beach Goodwill store, one of the busiest Goodwill locations in North Florida.
“Our new location offers greater visibility,” said manager Rebecca Rippy, noting that store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. “Plus, being next door to the Goodwill store really maximizes the shopping potential for our customer.”
Unlike a traditional Goodwill store, Bluetique more closely resembles a specialty boutique, with merchandise grouped together in attractive and colorful displays. In addition, approximately 20 percent of Bluetique’s merchandise is new, with hiqh-quality donations providing the remainder of its inventory.
Staff also take the time to group merchandise together, displaying clothing, accessories and jewelry to create a complete ensemble.
“Sometimes people don’t have the time to go on that treasure hunt for a bargain like they would at a Goodwill store,” said Jessica Veneman, director of retail operations for Goodwill of North Florida. “Bluetique makes it a little easier to find that perfect piece.”
The store’s new location has also enabled Bluetique to cater to a broader audience.
“We’ve expanded our merchandise with more items that will appeal to younger men and women,” Rippy said. “We want everyone to be included.”
But while Bluetique may offer a more refined shopping experience than the Goodwill Store next door, Veneman stressed, it shares the common goal of supporting Goodwill’s job creation and employment services.
“We do all of this (at Bluetique) for the same reason,” she said, “to support our mission.”