The finishing touches are going in place for the rebirth of Goody’s.
District manager Phillip Brown and store manager Mark McDuffie, and a host of employees, are preparing the Fort Howard Square anchor for its March 24 grand opening. A ribbon cutting will take place at 8:45 a.m. that day, with the doors swinging open at 9 a.m.
The total process started months ago, Brown said, when the company decided to get back into the market. Construction for the store began about three weeks ago.
Merchandise came in Monday, and store workers and other Goody’s employees have been busy since putting the displays and arranging the clothes and accessories.
“We’ve brought in some managers from around the area to help,” Brown said. “We’re able to have some talented people come in.”
Said McDuffie: “We got it Monday morning and by Monday afternoon, we had 75 percent of it unpacked.”
Brown and McDuffie also said they are happy with the workforce they’ve hired. The staff is all Effingham County residents, with only McDuffie — who came from the store in Vidalia — as the lone exception.
“The people here are great,” Brown said.
Some of the employees are holdovers from the old Goody’s.
“We have good people,” McDuffie said.
The new store will have about 25 to 30 employees, depending on the amount of business, according to Brown.
When Stage Stores bought the defunct Goody’s last summer, it also acquired some of the clothing lines and also bought the YES (Your Everyday Savings) tag line.
“It’s the same concept as the original Goody’s,” Brown said. “But you’ll see expanded vendor lines, expanded misses and men’s selections and expanded accessories and fragrances. Our nationally-recognized vendors are a little more prominent.”
The previous version of the Goody’s franchise was geared more toward junior and young men’s fashions, Brown said.
“We have a strong, mature customer base,” he said.
Most of Stage Stores’ operations — their chains include Beall’s, Peebles, Palais Royal and Stage —are in smaller towns.
“Georgia is a new market for us,” Brown said.
The original Goody’s at Fort Howard Square opened with great fanfare in December 2007. But the corporation’s bankruptcy led its closure less than a year and a half later.
“I know people like the Goody’s name,” McDuffie said.
Even a power outage planned for Thursday, the day after the opening, won’t slow the store down — they’ll have generators on hand to keep the power running and the doors open.