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GOODWILL TO OPEN RETAIL STORE IN EX-BRAND NAMES BUILDING

Goodwill Industries of Western New York will open a new retail store on Main Street in North Buffalo early next month.

Florence Conti, president of Goodwill, confirmed the charity is in the process of converting the recently-closed Brand Names store, at 2749 Main St., into the newest Goodwill store.

"We really like the location because it allows easy access for both customers and donors. It's a spot with very high visibility," Ms. Conti said.

The Main Street store will be a replacement for the 5,000-square-foot Goodwill location which closed at the nearby University Plaza several months ago.

Brand Names turned the lights out on the Main Street space it occupied for 40 years early this year, citing problems with the layout of the building for continued use as a catalog showroom. Difficult basement storage of large, bulky items, and the store's 11,000-square-foot footprint which limited display space, led to the store's closing.

But those issues are not a problem for Goodwill, which sees the space as an upgrade from smaller quarters it had down Main Street at University Plaza.

"We had our eye on this new location from the moment we learned it was available. It's bigger, brighter and the windows along Main Street offer a wonderful opportunity for seasonal displays," Ms. Conti said.

Goodwill is planning major Halloween and Christmas displays in the coming weeks to add an atmosphere of fun to the shopping experience.

The Main Street spot is also seen as providing easier access to well-priced necessities by Buffalo's inner city residents, according to the Goodwill president.

"When we lost our building downtown on Michigan, a lot of the people we served were left without a shopping alternative. While the new store is a fair distance from downtown, it's on a busy bus route, and right at the edge of a key neighborhood for us," she said.

The Main Street spot also borders North Buffalo's upscale neighborhood, which is viewed as a plus for attracting donations of lightly-used clothing and household goods.

"That site will be a retail store and a drop-off center, so we're very encouraged that it will be a prime spot for donation," Ms. Conti added.

When the newest Goodwill is open, the not-for-profit agency will have seven storefronts in the city , plus sites in Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, Clarence, Niagara Falls, Tonawanda and Batavia.

Goodwill has collection sites at a number of Tops supermarkets in the area.

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