published Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Goody's: Same store, new name

by Brittany Cofer
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press Inside Peebles department store in LaFayette, Ga., supervisor Christina Schwartz, left, takes charge of hanging a display with Shannon Tapp, center, and Jonathan Willis. The employees began moving and constructing store displays on Friday in preparation for the name change and the opening as Goody's on Wednesday.

Shoppers in LaFayette, Ga., soon will see a familiar department store’s name on Pearl Drive.

Since shutting its doors in 2008 after filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, customers have been asking when Goody’s will come back, said Christina Schwartz, assistant manager at Peebles department store.

Wednesday is that day — sort of.

“It’s not Goody’s coming back, it’s just us changing the name,” Schwartz said. “It’s pretty much a daily explanation. We’re not the old Goody’s — it’s gone and never going to come back. We’re still the same store, we just have a different name.”

Over the past several days, workers at Peebles have shifted the store’s departments, painted walls and put out a slew of new merchandise in anticipation of the store changing its name to Goody’s.

But, as Schwartz said, the change doesn’t mean the old store is coming back.

“Goody’s is a trusted name, and for our customers here in LaFayette there’d been a Goody’s here forever. And when they bankrupted, we know a lot of the community missed that,” said store manager Sarah Wilbanks. “We’re going to carry the same brands at the same low prices, keep the things that Peebles was and kind of blend the two together for a happy mix.”

Last year Peebles’ parent company, Stage Stores, bought the Goody’s name through its bankruptcy auction. Since then, the company has begun using the Goody’s name “in select markets in which there is strong customer awareness and recognition of the name,” according to its website.

That included opening stores under the Goody’s name in Kimball and Dayton in Tennessee, and Calhoun in Georgia, as well as several other areas.

Wilbanks said she anticipates the name change will add to the store’s already increasing sales numbers.

“Last year I think we were probably one of the top stores in the company — especially in this part of the company — that ranked in sales,” she said. “When we change the name, we hope that continues and gets even larger. There’s something about the Goody’s name that gets everyone’s attention.”

Part of the reason for the store’s increased sales comes from less competition, with the longtime Goody’s in LaFayette gone, as well as locations formerly at Eastgate Town Center in Brainerd, Gunbarrel Pointe in East Brainerd and on Highway 153 in Hixson. Another reason, Wilbanks said, is customer service.

“Being one of the only apparel retail shops in LaFayette is a plus,” she said, “but we treat our customers like they’re our family. We know almost everybody’s name and that really makes a big impact.”

about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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