Spring shoppers welcome Goody’s back to Foothills Mall

Goody’s manager Alexis Householder cuts the ribbon to officially open the Goody’s store at Foothills Mall on Thursday, March 17. From left are Goody’s assistant manager Lance Jackson, Blount County Chamber Board President Greg Wilson, Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor, Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell, Goody’s Bonnie Bear, Blount County Chamber Partnership CEO Bryan Daniels, Goody’s Amanda Barker and Jane Smith.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Goody’s manager Alexis Householder cuts the ribbon to officially open the Goody’s store at Foothills Mall on Thursday, March 17. From left are Goody’s assistant manager Lance Jackson, Blount County Chamber Board President Greg Wilson, Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor, Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell, Goody’s Bonnie Bear, Blount County Chamber Partnership CEO Bryan Daniels, Goody’s Amanda Barker and Jane Smith.

As dignitaries and store management cut the ribbon to officially open the new Goody’s store at Foothills Mall Thursday, there was a good sign of success gathering right behind them.

Shoppers wasted no time lining up at the door while the ceremony took place, then came streaming into the new Goody’s store when the doors opened. It wasn’t long before lines were forming at the registers for people checking out.

Alexis Householder, general manager, worked with cashiers as they waited on customers shortly after opening. Householder has been with the “new” Goody’s for two months, but worked as a general manager for the company for three years when it was based in Knoxville.

“It’s like the old Goody’s, but better, with lots more brands,” said Householder. “The merchandise is fresh, and it is new and exciting. We have a lot of brands people are going to recognize that we didn’t carry before, and we have a look that is very simple to shop.”

The new store is in its old location and has 29,000 square-feet of space. There are 40 employees on staff, with four full-time and the 36 part-time.

The general manager was pleased with Goody’s first day back at the mall. “It was perfect timing with the weather changing, because we’re opening with all spring merchandise,” she said. “We’re ready for folks to come get their boat shoes and boat pants.”

Goody’s was a well-known retailer and was very popular in the Southeast before it went bankrupt. In 2009, Stage department stores of Houston purchased the Goody’s name through the Goody’s bankruptcy auction. The company decided to use the Goody’s name in select markets where there was strong customer awareness and recognition of the name.

Bryan Daniels, Blount Partnership president and CEO, said Goody’s served a niche market in the community. “We’re glad to see them come back. Blount County was always a good market for the Goody’s brand, and this is another sign retail is continuing to increase in Blount County, which has for many, many years was an under-served market,” he said.

Foothills Mall manager Mike Kaufman said having a well-known name like Goody’s can only help the mall.

“It helps the mall from the perspective of having the name Goody’s back into the mall, especially when it was such a draw in its hey day,” he said.

Kaufman said the Knoxville-based Goody’s was a strong regional player in retail apparel. “Of course Knoxville took a huge hit when they went bankrupt. They lost occupancy of the headquarters, but the biggest hit was in strip centers and malls through this part of the country,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman said that at the beginning of the economic downtown, there were a lot of retailers who went into a tailspin. “The old Goody’s was one of them, and that space in the mall sat vacant for a couple of years,” he said.

Kaufman said when an anchor tenant such as Goody’s leaves, that makes it difficult for small shops in the mall to survive. “Anchors in a mall are just that, anchors. They do a tremendous job of attracting traffic to the property. It is important that the big spaces are full so the small shops can be healthy.”

The mall manager said he was glad Stage stores purchased the Goody’s name during the bankruptcy sale and reused it.

“Goody’s is a very strong name in East Tennessee and we have no doubt that name will bring back the customers who shopped with them before,” he said. “We feel very, very comfortable, and we’re very glad they’ve come back.”

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