Savers opens new store in Marlborough

The grand opening of the new Savers store in Marlborough is celebrated.

The grand opening of the new Savers store in Marlborough is celebrated.

By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor

Marlborough – Nearly 100 shoppers joined city officials June 12 to celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for Savers Thrift Store in the 222 Boston Post Road Plaza (Route 20). Also present was Ken Alterman, the company's president and CEO, who flew in from Seattle for the event.

Before the store officially opened for the day, Alterman greeted those gathered, including the store's employees, and spoke a bit about the company's background and shared some statistics.

Savers, Inc., founded in 1954, is a privately held for-profit international thrift store chain with locations in 31 states as well as some in Canada and Australia. The Marlborough store is the 337th location and the 15th to open in Massachusetts. Savers” business model is that it offers a local charity a place for clothing to be donated at each of its stores. The company then purchases and resells those items. But nearly ? of the items are never sold, he noted, but rather are donated to third world nations.

“We are the largest provider of used clothing to developing countries,” he added. “We were green before we knew green was good.”

The Marlborough store's nonprofit partner is the Epilepsy Foundation of New England.

William Braunlich, the organization's treasurer, thanked Alterman and said the relationship actually was a “three-legged stool.”

“The donor gets a tax receipt, the foundation sells the goods to Savers and Savers gets relatively low-cost goods,” he said.

“So I want you to be the most successful store – sell, sell, sell!” he told the employees.

In an interview after the ribbon cutting, Alterman acknowledged that there had been a “few hurdles” to clear with city officials in order to open the new store.

“It hasn's always been easy but I appreciate their efforts because I know how much they care about their city,” he said. “And I have to say, out of all the grand openings I have done, this one has had the most officials present. That shows me how much they care.”

Marlborough was an ideal site, he said, for a new store.

“We look for places with a broad economic area, places with a strong work ethic,” he said.

“Our demographic is the middle-income,” he added. “We appeal to people who need to shop and to those who want to shop, who are looking for a bargain.”

Alterman noted that thrift is an “understood” concept to many. Savers stores are “clean, organized, and well-merchandized,” he said, with a large turnover of items.

“Most items are sold within the first 10 days,” he said. “The entire store turns over every three weeks.”

What also sets Savers apart from many other second-hand stores is the partnership they have with charities.

“We have about 200 partnerships among our locations,” he said. “They love it – once you'se in, you'sl never want to leave!”

Roger Gauthier, the store's manager, noted that the store has hired 60 people, with the majority being full-time.

“About 85 percent of them are from Marlborough or Hudson,” he added.

By the time the store officially opened at 9 a.m., the line of anxious shoppers stretched down the entire sidewalk of the plaza. First in line were Kaia Fye of Wayland and Patty Soobitski of Charlton. The women noted that they had shopped at several of the chain's other locations and were excited that one was opening in Marlborough.

“Like everyone, we'se just here because we like a good bargain!” Fye said.

The new store is located at 222A E. Main St. It is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit www.savers.com for more information.

Photos/Bonnie Adams

The store is ready.

The store is ready.

Eager shoppers await the store's opening.

Eager shoppers await the store's opening.

Ken Alterman, the president and CEO of Savers, Inc., speaks with the Marlborugh store employees before the store opens.

Ken Alterman, the president and CEO of Savers, Inc., speaks with the Marlborugh store employees before the store opens.

William Braunlich, the treasurer for Epilepsy Foundation of New England, speaks at the ceremony.

William Braunlich, the treasurer for Epilepsy Foundation of New England, speaks at the ceremony.

Roger Gauthier, the store's manager, speaks at the ceremony.

Roger Gauthier, the store's manager, speaks at the ceremony.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=50577

Posted by on Jun 15 2014. Filed under Business, Byline Stories, Marlborough. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “Savers opens new store in Marlborough”

  1. I was skeptical the moment I heard a public service announcement about the new Savers thrift shop in my area. “Dedicated to supporting our community’s nonprofit organizations,” our local NPR affiliate declared.
    “Go shopping, and help others at the same time!” another ad said enticingly.
    “Proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters!” a new TV commercial claims, tugging at those proverbial heartstrings. What a wonderful rationale for a buying spree!
    My first question was: Is Savers itself a nonprofit? The answer is NO. It is “a U.S.-based multinational profit-making conglomerate” with more than 350 stores in three countries.
    My second question was: How much of its $1.5 billion annual revenue goes to the charities it claims to benefit? The answer is: None of your business. Savers has always refused to disclose its outlays to the nonprofits whose names it uses to attract both donors and shoppers (and the charities flatly refuse to discuss the matter as well). I found estimates ranging from three percent to 10 percent. Savers earns more in one year than it donates every 10 years, according to documents regarding its second recapitalization.
    Savers claims repeatedly that its proceeds go to its various charities. “Proceeds” is defined by Webster as “the total amount brought in “. But “charities are selling their names for 10 cents on the dollar,” a critic observes.
    The Los Angeles Times calculated 27 years ago that Savers earns more than 100 percent return on its equity each year. That was before its explosive growth, beefed-up management expertise (from buyout firm Freeman Spogli), aggressive advertising, big-time Wall Street capitalization, and economies of scale.

  2. Interesting comment, above. How much of the proceeds will go to Epilepsy Foundation?

  3. different subject. i am a handicap person who would like to be able to shop in your store, but was told the store does not have any accommodate equipment for the handicap .such as wheelchairs or electric shopping carts. i would like to know are you now or in the very near future going to supply this equipment! spend the money, you are telling the people you care and they will tell people you care it.s a win win you will be the good guys! yours truly alice.

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