Hidden Treasures: Goodwill provides valuable items at low prices

For college students, innovative ways to save money and spend less are essential. The Goodwill Industries – Big Bend Inc. stores are some of the best places to find hidden treasures.

Summer Ban Etten, a sales associate at the Goodwill Betton Bookstore on Thomasville Road, said all of the items the bookstore receives are donated. One of the most valuable pieces of merchandise it carries is the book Bambi by Felix Salten. The book is valued at $350 but priced at $200 so it can be sold and the company can profit.

People come in and donate all sorts of things to us, Ban Etten said. Gold, silver, a 50-year-old baby carriage, 60-year-old vintage rotary phones and other rare books, just to name a few.

Most of the more modern books at the Goodwill store are priced at $3.99. Students can generate huge savings by purchasing books from donation bookstores instead of chain and online bookstores.

Many of the vintage items available have large price reductions in place so customers will be more willing to purchase them. For example, 60-year-old rotary phones are sold for $20 although they are valued around $50.

Amber Odom, a fourth-year criminal justice student from Jacksonville, shops at the Goodwill clothing store frequently. According to Odom, the greatest treasure she has found is a Michael Kors jacket valued at $250 that she purchased for $6.

I have probably saved over a thousand dollars by shopping at Goodwill, especially when I go there on Mondays when it is student discount day when everything is 50 percent off.

The treasures you find at Goodwill may not only be useful to you, some items can be used as gifts for others. Courtney Warren, a Florida A&M alumna, said she found a Christian Dior jacket at Goodwill for $6 and gave it to a friend.

The Goodwill of the Big Bend has been serving the area for nearly 50 years. According to the 2011 annual report from the Goodwill Industries – Big Bend Inc., these stores accounted for more than $19 million in revenue by the end of December 2011.

The Goodwill Betton Bookstore accumulated $290,536 alone. Almost 440,000 businesses and individuals made donations and contributions to Goodwill in 2011.

There are 13 donation centers available to contributors in the Big Bend area, and shopping at Goodwill is an opportunity to donate to those in need and to shop for valuable items priced below their worth.

Odom shops at Goodwill about twice a month and often finds luxury brand name clothes for less than $10.

I think the items at Goodwill are very valuable, she said. I would have looked over them due to their extremely low prices if I found them at a department store.