Gina + Will : A Goodwill Concept Store Begins in Dinkytown
Gina & Will, a Goodwill concept specialty store, opened it’s doors in Dinkytown in August of 2014. It is the first and only Goodwill concept store in the US that is tailored to college students. Their mission states:
Gina + Will™ cares about the community and helping others, and believes fashion shouldn’t be a chore. We offer cheap, stylish items within walking distance from the UMN Twin Cities campus. Every dollar spent supports Goodwill-Easter Seals’ workforce development programs, putting 4 people in the workplace every day right here in Minnesota.
Goodwill has never tried a campus location before. However, with few options for students to purchase clothes near campus and the need affordable options, they saw a niche they could fill. Their average price point is $7 per item, however their items range from $.99 – $14.99.The goal is that students can get a whole for about $20. They carry a wide range of brands and styles.
The store is run by General Manager Danielle Stager. They have a small staff of approximately 10 employees which includes 2 managers plus their selector, Alexis, who is typically off site. Danielle emphasizes how dedicated the employees are, and they have low staff turnover and great response whenever they are looking for interns or employees.
Their inventory is hand picked by Alexis at off-site Goodwill warehouses. She carefully goes through donations and hand selects items that fit the college demographic. They focus on quality products, and the spot treat/steam clean any items that need it, allowing more bang for your buck. Their selection is smaller than your typical Goodwill store, but it is highly curated to fit their audience. They have trend displays that change often. In fact, when you walk in, if you don’t know they are a Goodwill concept store, you may feel like you’re in a high-end boutique.
Gina + Will not only carries items that cater to students, they also keep in mind the needs of the local neighborhood residents, people that work at the surrounding businesses, and U of M faculty and staff. They also carry a large amount of Gopher related products. They do not carry furniture but they do have a selection of smaller home decor items.
Another large part of their business comes from people looking for items to wear to theme parties. Some of the themes that Gina + Will specializes in include tropical parties, America, 80s, Halloween, and of course, Ugly Sweater parties. Now that they’ve been in Dinkytown for a few years and know the cycle of parties they are able to be proactive about having items available in store. In 2017, they sold over 300 ugly Holiday sweaters and have even started making some of their own to fit the demand.
Gina + Will is a prototype store, as Goodwill is testing the concept to see how successful it will be before launching others. Dinkytown has been the birthplace of many business concepts over the years so it is only fitting that Goodwill selected this location to test their concept. It is also important to note they are not a donation center.
General Manager, Danielle Stager, says her favorite part of being in Dinkytown is when she sees people walking by holding bags and wearing clothes from their store. She loves getting to know their regular customers, who are very supportive of the Gina + Will mission. She is also proud that this store leads the Goodwill organization in participating in rounding up to the next dollar program, even with being a budget conscious demographic. The Goodwill organization as a whole has a 44% participation goal, but Gina + Will’s average is always in high 70%.
Stop in Gina + Will to see what fun treasures you may find and then tell a friend!