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Spring 2013 Goods for Good

A Louisiana church finds it can implement its mission of doing good through new inline store.

DO GOOD, a store on the Louisiana boardwalk, in Bossier, LA, does just that. It’s a store with purpose, drive and heart and is birthed from faith in the ability we all have to impact communities—from a local to a global level.

Store manager Justin Haigler, is also the pastor and founder of The Simple Church, a non-denominational church in town. “We believe that if we live simply, give generously, and consume consciously, we can continue helping communities to thrive and offer people hope,” Haigler says.

Store operations

The store stocks fairly traded products from around the world and all the profits from sales go back to these needy communities. Carrying everything from baby clothes to
coffee, the range of products has appealed to a wide shopper base looking not just to purchase but who also enjoy the fact that proceeds do good locally and around the world.

Overhead costs are kept to a minimum. Ashley Davis, the marketing manager at Louisiana Boardwalk, says the center charges the shop very low rent and that the store in turn has attracted “many customers that would not normally shop at our shopping center.”

The church’s involvement has been an integral part of the store’s success because the store is staffed by volunteers, who, Haigler adds, have been “amazing.” With about 75 volunteers working shifts, their commitment helps the operation run smoothly. Many who volunteer have years of experience in retail and that has proved to be extremely helpful.


Year-round model

Haigler is in the process of setting up DO GOOD as a separate non-profit organization and expanding to a year-round operation after a wildly successful holiday season. The store opened last November and Haigler has been pleasantly surprised by its success. Interest has been sparked across the country. “We had people from many different states come in and express interest in a shop like this in their community,” Haigler says, “Not to mention the great support of our local community and surrounding areas.”

For now, the plan is to focus on the holidays throughout the year. “We have more spring style shoes coming from Sole Rebels, which are handmade from recycled products in Ethiopia,” Haigler says, “The people are requesting more and more great products that can help make a difference.” In fact, DO GOOD’s largest challenge has been to acquire products from around the world and stock the store in a timely manner.

At this time, DO GOOD plans to focus mainly on the brick-and-mortar store experience, although Haigler believes that the online part of the business is soon to come. Haigler encourages retailers looking to create a store with a similar theme to maintain focus on the overarching goal. “One thing I have learned worldwide, charity does not fix poverty, jobs do! So the more we focus on finding great products that employ people by paying them a fair wage, the better off this world will be. That is one thing that makes this so much fun … seeing the change. Knowing that retail has a purpose. It can help change the world one person at a time.”

Haigler often reminds himself that DO GOOD is a business which is about people—the artisans who make and distribute the products, and of course, the purchaser. “This DO GOOD model may or may not be the model of how to do business.  But our hope is that this model may inspire more people to consume consciously. To realize we can make a difference,” Haigler adds.

Kerry Weir

Kerry Weir is an honors graduate from the University of Alabama. She writes about specialty retail and is a new contributor to Specialty Retail Report. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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