Goodwill completes remodel of retail store; adds new features

       For about a year, shoppers at the Goodwill retail store, 2304 W. Colorado Ave., have gotten used to temporary locations for displays, areas that were blocked off and the general feel of a construction zone.
       But all that is coming to an end. The word from the nonprofit company for several months has basically been that the project would be finished when new signs went up inside the store. And last week new signs went up inside the store.

Brian Baker, manager of the Goodwill retail store at Colorado Avenue and 23rd Street, models the new Books & Brew area.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Even before that, as the major work was tapering off, customers were already speaking favorably of the changes, according to store manager Brian Baker. “They're saying that it feels more open,” he said. “That's been the big comment.”
       Most of the work was accomplished by the facilities team for Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs, with about 25 percent completed by subcontractors, according to company spokesperson Laura Marth.
       A recent guided tour of the 4,073-square-foot interior revealed some key aspects of the remodel. In front, the cash registers, sales stations and the faux hardwood floor beneath them are all new; also, they're laid out north-south (toward the doors), which allows a smoother flow for shoppers lining up and exiting with their purchases than the former east-west. “It could get congested before,” Baker explained.
       A major new feature is at the back of the store. Called “Books and Brew,” it's an area with a coffee machine, tables and chairs and bookcases. Customers are encouraged to relax there, have some complimentary coffee and check out different books.
       Building Books and Brew was no small feat. In the original store layout (it was a 1950s Safeway store), the manager's office was upstairs, so it was necessary to cut in under that and run electricity and plumbing. “That work in the rear was the most challenging, operationally,” Baker said. “We had a week where that area had to be blocked off.”
       Also in the Books and Brew area, he pointed out, is a kiosk with a computer that allows job-seekers to fill out applications or shoppers to go online to look for antiques and other hard-to-find items on the Goodwill website at shopgoodwill.com). It won't be a place where people can just surf the Internet, he clarified.

Mark Brown, lead technician for Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs, adjusts one of the new signs inside the store. The lettering style was customized for the Old Colorado City store, so it would look "Old West."
Westside Pioneer photo

       Other upgrades from the remodel include:
  • A small office on the main floor for the manager and accountant.
  • New changing rooms, with more space and better accessibility for people in wheelchairs.
  • New bookshelves (in the Books and Brew area). They are deeper, allowing 30 percent more shelving space, Baker said.
  • A mattress area, with the mattresses on a platform to keep them off the floor. (Melissa Lyby, a Goodwill spokesperson, noted that the store sells only new mattresses, ones that were made available to Goodwill because of slight imperfections.)
           Also present during the guided tour were three Goodwill employees who were involved in the store remodel. These were Konnie Davidson, facilities manager for the stores in the Springs and several other parts of Colorado; Mark Brown, lead technician; and Cheryl Morton, who works in retail operations and graphics.
           It was Morton who designed the store's new signage (inside and out). Because of the store's location in the one-time cowboy-type Colorado City downtown, “I was looking for a rough, Old West feel,” she said.
           Although Goodwill is relocating its office and warehouse space next year to a building on Garden of the Gods Road, company officials have pledged to keep the West Colorado retail store open.

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