Arc's Value Village to open a Bloomington store this fall

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 29, 2014 - 9:48 PM

The resale shop opened another location, but Goodwill and Salvation Army also are expanding their thrift empires.

Arc’s Value Village is expanding to Bloomington, opening its fifth location at the Valley West Shopping Center in November.

The new store is the final piece in the thrift store chain’s $3.5 million capital campaign. It opened a St. Paul store in 2009, remodeled stores in Brooklyn Center and Richfield and doubled the size of its New Hope location.

“The resale industry continues to grow,” said Laurel Hansen, business director at Arc’s Value Village, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Revenues are up 9 percent year to date. Demand and supply are expanding.”

The new store, complete with a drive-through donation lane, will be 20,000 square feet with a sales floor of 14,000 square feet, similar in size to the Richfield and New Hope locations. The Brooklyn Center store is slightly smaller, and the St. Paul store is a bit larger.

The Bloomington location was chosen for its busy intersection near a thriving strip mall with bargain-friendly tenants Cub Foods, Big Lots and Dollar Tree. And being close to Jefferson High School will attract student traffic and allow the retailer to use teen volunteers.

“We want to give students a chance to hone their fashion chops in our teen trend department,” Hansen said. “They can offer advice on what is cool.”

The new location also will expand on Value Village’s highly successful personal shopper program. An additional two wardrobe stylists will be hired to help shoppers choose outfits during free appointments. The program, which began in 2012, gives fashionistas a budget-friendly way to expand their wardrobe.

In addition to the Bloomington location, Arc also is getting ready to debut its new Village on the Go mobile thrift truck, which will be parked at festivals and community events. It will debut in August.

The Twin Cities resale market has gained momentum this summer, with several thrift retailers opening stores or expanding operations. Next month, Goodwill will open its new Gina + Will concept store in the Dinkytown area of Minneapolis, where it will sell casual and trendy clothing, shoes and accessories for young adults.

Goodwill also plans to open stores in Savage on Oct. 25, Alexandria on Nov. 22 and Monticello on Jan. 31. It will add a second by-the-pound outlet store in Brooklyn Park in February and move its existing outlet in St. Paul to the store at 553 Fairview Av. N. in the spring. The existing store on Fairview will move to a new space on the former Whitaker car dealership lot at 1239 University Av. in February, said Goodwill spokeswoman Mary Beth Casement.

The Salvation Army is in the process of trying to finalize two additional store locations but cannot confirm them yet, said Tom Canfield, district manager for Twin Cities area Salvation Army stores. Last month it added its first by-the-pound outlet at its flagship store on N. 4th St. in Minneapolis.

Hansen isn’t worried that all the new stores may spread the thrift market too thin. “The more the better,” she said. “This market isn’t saturated at all.”

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633

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