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Goodwill contest seeks thriftiest shopper in Southwest Florida

By Staff | Jul 16, 2009

The North Fort Myers-bsaed headquarters of Goodwill Industries of
Southwest Florida Inc. is spearheading a search for the thriftiest
shopper in Southwest Florida. It’s all part of a contest called “So You Think You’re Thrifty.”
The winner will receive prizes, including Goodwill gift certificates,
and will appear in a Goodwill advertisement.
“We’re looking for the saviest shopper, someone who really knows how
to stretch a dollar,” said Kirsten O’Donnell, Goodwill’s director of
public relations and marketing. She said that now it is actually
fashionable to save money by shopping thrift stores.
“A few years ago, it would have been taboo to tell people that you bought an
outfit at a thrift store or discount retailer,” she said. “But with the current
economy, being a thrifty shopper is like a badge of honor.”
The organization is actually holding auditions for the title, beginning with an event today at the north Cape Coral location on Pine Island Road and then more tryouts at other local stores, including Punta Gorda and South Fort Myers.
“After the initial auditions, we’re going to pick four finalists and let them loose in our stores with a $100 gift certificate,” continued O’Donnell. “We’re gong to get video of their shopping sprees and then people will be able to vote or their favorites on-line and in our stores.”
“We have a lot of very dedicated shoppers,” explains Goodwill’s Vice
President of Communications and Development Carolyn Johnson. “We
want to do something to reward them, and also to remind people that
spending less doesn’t have to be difficult.”
According to figures gathered by the organization, nationwide more
people are turning to consignment and thrift stores for their
shopping needs. The National Association of Resale and Thrift stores
reports sales have gone up by 30 percent in the last year alone. In turn,
luxury spending has also decreased. A recent forecast by Bain & Co.
predicts that luxury spending will drop an unprecedented 10 percent
this year.
New local homeowner Kim Leggett said the first thing she did when she
bought her home here recently was check out all the local thrift
stores for items to furnish the home.
“I like the adventure, the thrill of the hunt, so to speak,” she said. “You’ll never know what you will find.”
Goodwill volunteer and shopper Michelle Grojean said she also loves the thrill of a good bargain.
“I was taught thrifty shopping from my grandmother,” she said. “There are so many great bargains and good finds.”
Local North Fort Myers shop manager Kathy Mullin is encouraging residents to come in now and fill out an entry form.
The contest entry forms are now available at all of Goodwill’s 23
Southwest Florida stores, and on Goodwill’s Web site goodwillswfl.org. Interview-style auditions will be held at several Goodwill locations. Three auditions will be held nearby: at Goodwill’s North Cape Coral store on today, July 16, 11 a.m. -2 p.m.; at the agency’s Punta Gorda location on
Wednesday, July 22, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.; and on Sunday, July 26, in
South Fort Myers at the Daniels Parkway Goodwill store, 11 a.m. to 2
p.m. A complete list of all audition dates and times is on Goodwill’s Web site.
If you don’t have time to get a form, just show up for the audition,
O’Donnell said. The interview process will be simple.
“We’ll just ask them a few questions about their shopping habits, and why they think they deserve the title as Southwest Florida’s thriftiest,” she said. “Maybe they have a wallet full of coupons, or the outfit they’re wearing cost
less than $20. We’ll take that all into consideration.”
O’Donnell adds that contestants will also be asked to pose for a photo.
Goodwill will then select four finalists for the competition, and people will be able to vote for their favorite on Goodwill’s Web site.
Goodwill plans to crown the thriftiest shopper in late September.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Inc. operates 23 retail and
donation centers in Southwest Florida, in order to support its
mission of helping people with disabilities and other disadvantages
overcome their barriers to employment and independence. Programs
include career training and placement services, income-sensitive
housing for people with disabilities and senior citizens, youth
mentoring, the Four Wheels for Work vehicle assistance program, and
the L.I.F.E. Academy Charter School.