A new concept store called Edgar & James opens tomorrow (Friday) in Bixby Knolls, showcasing the best of what Goodwill, Serving the People of Southern Los Angeles County (SOLAC) thrift stores have to offer.

With its upscale-sounding name, Edgar & James honors Goodwill’s founder, the Rev. Edgar James Helms, who opened his first second-hand shop in Boston in 1902. Sales from Edgar & James, as well as Goodwill’s more traditional stores in the area, directly benefit the community — with money going towards Goodwill’s job training and other nonprofit services.

What’s different about Edgar & James, besides the name, is the farmhouse chic vibe, urban logo and curated selection of retail available inside the 9,000-square-foot store. Edgar & James, with its non-Goodwill store appearance and slightly higher price tags, filled the former Trader Joe’s location at 4121 Atlantic Ave.

Long Beach’s Edgar & James will be the second such store in Los Angeles County — it’s modeled after a Redondo Beach location that opened in March 2016.

Goodwill SOLAC President and CEO Janet McCarthy said the store in Redondo Beach has been performing at an overwhelming level of success, and she said local support was strong for bringing the concept to Long Beach.

“The reality is that we wanted to be in Bixby Knolls and other communities that don’t want that Goodwill store feel in their communities,” McCarthy said. “This store is cool and in and trendy… There’s no blue on the building because the colors are dark brown and black. We’ve used a totally different font. You wouldn’t know it was a Goodwill, but it all goes back to the same mission.”

Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association (BKBIA) board president Servando Orozco shared his enthusiasm for the project.

“We have seen what Edgar & James has done for other communities and believe the store will help continue to activate our business district,” Orozco said.  “We are eager to see how they will transform the space.”

Eighth District Councilman Al Austin also was enthusiastic about the store opening. He said, “I am excited to welcome this classy new concept, Edgar & James by Goodwill, to Bixby Knolls. The renovations have exceeded my expectations and I am most impressed that they have hired local residents to work in the new store.”

Goodwill SOLAC board chairman Harry Saltzgaver, who also is the executive editor of Gazette Newspapers, said the vision for the community project wouldn’t have become a reality without the help of the councilman, BKBIA leaders and Goodwill’s management and staff.

“The concept of a curated collection of merchandise allows us to fit in well with the upscale, hip vibe being created in Bixby Knolls,” Saltzgaver said. “When people make a purchase at Edgar & James, they are helping Goodwill help others with job and life training that will allow them to become self-sufficient. The same is true when people donate to Goodwill and Edgar & James.”

The store opens at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, July 14) with opportunities for customers to get a free tote bag with purchases of $50 or more, while supplies last, McCarthy said. Also, there will be beverages provided by Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Donations can be dropped off at Edgar & James, just the same as any Goodwill store, and donations are tax-deductible.

Also, all items for sale at Goodwill stores are priced as marked — with no added sales tax, McCarthy noted.

For more information, visit www.ThinkGood.org.

Ashleigh Ruhl can be reached at ashleighruhl@gmail.com.

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