HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — Is Hawthorne too good for Goodwill thrift stores?
That seems to be the sentiment as Hawthorne city leaders fight the opening of two proposed Goodwill thrift shops, one on Hawthorne Boulevard and another on Rosecrans.
City Councilman Alex Vargas is one of the city leaders resisting Goodwill’s move into prominent Hawthorne storefronts. Vargas is against an ordinance that would allow Goodwill to open thrift shops, one in a building that has been vacant for two years and another that has been empty for four years.
“This is equivalent to just planning like, say, on the back of a paper napkin,” Vargas said.
The amendment establishes development regulations for thrift shops, antique shops, bookstores and consignment shops within commercial and industrial zones. The Hawthorne Municipal Code does not currently permit secondhand merchandise to be sold within its city boundaries.
The ordinance is a quick fix plan to fill the many empty storefronts that plague the city, according to Vargas. He says residents feel they will lose control on what types of businesses move in.
“What they call undesired uses don’t promote, say, property values in the city,” Vargas said.
However, residents don’t seem to see the problem with businesses moving into empty spaces. Alexander Monteiro, executive director of two non-profit businesses in Hawthorne, says that 70 percent of the city’s residents live paycheck-to-paycheck and unemployment in the city is at 14 percent.
“These young kids go to Goodwill stores because they have a variety of clothes that are fun, you know, hip hop style,” Monteiro said.
“I love thrift stores,” Hawthorne resident Claire Gooding said. “Because, well, they bring back, well I’m a senior, so they bring back memories for me because I see things that you don’t normally see, you know, in department stores.”
The Hawthorne City Council is scheduled to take public comment and vote on the ordinance on March 12. If the ordinance is approved, Goodwill Thrift Shops will be allowed to move into Hawthorne a month later.