What are outlet stores?

Our Goodwill has 26 retail stores in the region and two outlet stores. While our retail stores are similar to regular department stores, our outlet stores offer a different shopping experience.

Our outlet stores are sometimes referred to as “the bins” or “bins stores.” This is because of the layout of the store. Instead of items being displayed on racks, everything is placed inside bins.

It may seem a bit chaotic, and it can be at times. But there is a method to the madness. Items are separated into different bins based on category. Clothing and textiles are placed in bins together, while housewares have their own bins, books have their own bins, electrics have their own bins, and glassware items have their own bins.

Walking into an outlet can be overwhelming. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that other shoppers are standing at the bins. If everyone is standing away from the bins, that means a rotation is happening and all customers must wait till the rotation is complete to go back out on the floor.

What is a rotation, you ask?

Bins are rotated every half hour. This means, new bins overflowing with items are coming out from the back all the time. The new bins replace other bins, that are taken off the sales floor.

Where do these items come from?

Items at our outlet stores come from our retail stores. Items are in our retail stores for five weeks. If the items haven’t sold within those five weeks, they are sent to our outlet stores. This means new merchandise is always coming to our outlet stores.

Now that you know a little more about how outlet stores work, here are some important things to know before you visit one of our outlet stores: 

1. There are two outlets in our area.

The outlets are at 4379 Whipple Ave. NW in Jackson Township and 1333 East 179th St. in Cleveland, which opened recently. The Jackson Township store is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and the Cleveland store is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 

2. Pricing is different than at our regular stores.

Items at the outlets are priced per pound or per item, depending on the item. As of November 7, 2023, pricing at both outlets is as follows: $1.79 per pound for wares, textiles, shoes and accessories; $.99 per item for books and media; and $.79 per pound for electrical, glass, dishware and breakable wares.  

Bulk rates are as follows: $.69 per pound for glass for 5-plus pounds; $.69 per pound for electrical for 10-plus pounds; $1.69 per pound for wares and shoes for 30-plus pounds; and $1.69 per pound for textiles and accessories for 25-plus pounds. 

3. You should dress for the occasion.

Gloves are not required, but they might be useful when digging through the bins. Broken glass or dirty items could be in the bins. 

4. You should plan to spend more time than usual shopping.

With bin rotations, this means new items are being brought out all day. Many shoppers, especially resellers, like to stick around for a few rotations to see what they can find.

5. Carts can run out quickly.

Carts are available, but they can run out quickly, so you may have to hold items.  

6. There aren’t bags.

Items aren’t put in a bag when you check out.

7. Items are sold as is.

There are no returns allowed at our outlet stores. 

About the author: Kelsey Davis is the Digital Marketing & Communications Specialist at Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland & East Central Ohio, Inc.