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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Goodwill store coming to Hudson in former Stop & Shop

Goodwill will be putting a retail store and distribution center into a former Stop & Shop on Lowell Road in south Hudson, the latest expansion of the thrift-store industry in Greater Nashua.

The roughly 40,000-square-foot grocery store shut at the end of 2013. ...

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Goodwill will be putting a retail store and distribution center into a former Stop & Shop on Lowell Road in south Hudson, the latest expansion of the thrift-store industry in Greater Nashua.

The roughly 40,000-square-foot grocery store shut at the end of 2013.

It was one of six Stop & Shops in New Hampshire, including one in Milford, that were closed when the company abandoned the New Hampshire market as part of a retrenchment. The Milford store remains empty.

Goodwill received town permission for the move in May. It will not change the footprint of the building, on the corner or Route 3A and Wason Road, although some exterior and landscaping work will be done. Timetable for the opening has not been announced.

The site, much larger than most stores which Goodwill operates, also will act as a distribution center for the charity, according to town officials.

It will be owned and run by Maine-based Goodwill of Northern New England, one of 175 autonomous Goodwill agencies in North America.

The new store arrives a year after Goodwill opened a 17,900-square-foot store in Amherst at 131 Route 101A, its first in Greater Nashua since a former store closed almost a decade ago. The store is a newly built building, which replaced a small plaza destroyed by a fire.

The stores are part of what is called the “resale industry,” which is a big business complete with their own national lobbying group, the National Association of Resale Professionals. A research firm, First Research, has estimated that the resale industry in the U.S. has annual revenues of approximately $13 billion – about a fifth of that from Goodwill Industries’ 2,500 stores. Sales grew during the recession as customers sought deals.

Route 101A area has seen a burst of resale stores in recent years that, like Goodwill’s stores, are owned and operated by charities that take in donations, refurbish or repackage them and sell them, using the proceeds to support their charitable work.

Most recently, Lil’ Iguana, the children’s safety nonprofit, opened a Resale Store at 472 Amherst St., Suite 11, in Nashua. Like most such stores, it sells a variety of household items and clothing.

Last year, Habitat for Humanity opened a ReStore at 352 Amherst St. Using the group’s home-building expertise, it caters to the home improvement and upgrade community, selling such things as flooring, cabinets, plumbing, lumber, and paint and hardware.

Resale stores are not new to the area. For decades, The Salvation Army has operated the Salvation Army Family Store in Nashua, now in a former grocery store at 217 W. Hollis St., while the Souhegan Valley charity SHARE has long operated a clothing barn behind St. Patrick Church in Milford.

Stop & Shop’s retreat from New Hampshire after a decade in the state was a sharp blow for the firm, which is owned by a Dutch conglomerate but is the largest grocery-only chain in New England.

It contrasted painfully with the expansion of Market Basket, which has opened and enlarged stores throughout New Hampshire in recent years. The Hudson store faced a Market Basket, while the Milford store faced a Shaw’s supermarket.

Stop & Shop has began expanding again in Massachusetts, by opening relatively small stores of 20,000 square feet or less, backing away from the large superstore model that it employed in Hudson and Milford.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).