University City

Goodwill opens new tech store on North Tryon

The Grid…Powered by Goodwill recently opened its doors to the public.

Goodwill celebrated the grand opening May 31 for its experiential store, a destination that is sure to be unique.

Michael Elder, Goodwill’s president and CEO, and Greg Phipps, Charlotte City Council member for District 4, were on hand to christen the 6,000-square-foot technology hub at 9605 N. Tryon St.

The store replaces Goodwill’s Computer Works store on Freedom Drive, which is now closed. The staff at Computer Works has been moved to The Grid.

The new store will offer shoppers the same variety of desktop and laptop computers, flat-screen TVs and gaming systems as Computer Works, as well as new products like audio components, portable chargers, phone and tablet accessories, retro games, gaming consoles and controllers.

Brand-new merchandise and refurbished equipment and devices will be available to shoppers, enabling Goodwill to maintain its commitment to affordable prices. The new store will employ 15 people initially.

Inspired by a strong belief in what The Grid could be, Goodwill team members went to the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January and gathered ideas about how to expand the popular Computer Works store.

Goodwill plans to use The Grid to develop partnerships with local science, technology, engineering and math schools, as well as to leverage its location near UNC Charlotte.

The Grid has many products and accessories to attract the technology neophyte and the tech-savvy alike. One offering sure to dazzle all is the Oculus Rift.

This virtual-reality gaming system allows users the chance to feel the thrill of riding an underground roller coaster and other activities. Though it won’t be available on the consumer market until 2015, visitors to The Grid can experience it in the store now.

By offering a way for people to donate their computers and other electronic devices, The Grid is helping to minimize the damaging effect of electronics waste on the environment while also promoting Goodwill’s stated mission of “Changing Lives Through the Power of Work.”

When computers are donated, they are first evaluated by technicians in Goodwill’s Electronic Recycling Training Program. Some systems in working condition are then refurbished to be resold at The Grid, which provides paid training opportunities and solid work experience to program participants.

The Grid…Powered by Goodwill is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-7 p.m. Sundays.

“When you look at the total economic impact in terms of wages, taxes and purchasing power, this one location will have a significant impact on the local economy,” said Elder.