Goodwill Treasure Hunting

Depending on when you’re reading this, you could toggle over to ShopGoodwill.com right now and purchase a red Sunbeam stand mixer for $7. Or the price already may have gone up. You never know with an online auction.

There’s also a tennis racquet stringing machine, power tools from DeWalt, Milwaukee, Ryobi, et al., gold and silver jewelry, antique dolls, a euphonium, and a collection of designer handbags to rival luxury consignment at TheRealReal.com. Everything on Good Will’s online shopping site starts at $5.99 and sells at the end of five days, at whatever price the marketplace determines. In about 45 minutes from this writing, for example, someone’s going to take home approximately 17 pounds of wrestling action figures for about a hundred bucks.

This online treasure trove comes from all over the country, wherever local Goodwill operations participate in the consolidated selling platform. So you could be buying Legos from Louisiana or Kate Spade from Kansas. Those wrestling figures hail from North Carolina.

In Nashville’s 150,000+ square-foot Goodwill distribution center at Cockrill Bend, which launched a retail outlet in fall 2019, the cream of the crop of contributions gets skimmed from truckloads headed to Goodwill stores and makes its way to ShopGoodwill.com. In a corner of the massive distribution warehouse, potential high-dollar items are inspected, sorted and packaged for shipping, with help from specialty equipment to measure metal content in jewelry and third-party authenticators to determine if luxury labels are real. (Knock-offs are destroyed).

Once items are authenticated, they get photographed, posted online, warehoused for five days until the auction concludes, then shipped to the highest bidder. Last year, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee sold in the ballpark of $3 million online.

Proceeds from ShopGoodwill.com and 30 stores and two outlets support Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee’s programs to train and place job-seekers, including a five-week construction training course in a gleaming 5,000-square-foot workshop adjacent to the online sales hub at Cockrill Bend. Every student in the NCCER-based curriculum earns a weekly stipend and receives a hard hat and a tool belt loaded with tape measure, chalk line and hammer — equipment to prepare them for employment after graduation.

Meanwhile, if you are shopping for tools — or a tennis racquet stringing machine, a stand mixer, or a euphonium — start your search at ShopGoodwill.com. You never know what you might find, starting at around six dollars.

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