New chain retailer set to open on south Iowa and make $10,000 donation to local nonprofit

photo by: Chad Lawhorn

The HomeGoods store near 33rd and Iowa streets, pictured June 21, 2018, plans to donate $10,000 to a local nonprofit as part of its grand opening celebration

A grand opening of a new chain retailer on south Iowa Street is going to be worth 10 grand for a Lawrence nonprofit.

HomeGoods, the national home decor chain, is set to open its store in Lawrence this weekend, and as part of the grand opening celebration it plans to donate $10,000 to Family Promise, according to the executive director of the Lawrence-based nonprofit that helps homeless families.

“That is a game-changer for us,” said Dana Ortiz, executive director of Family Promise of Lawrence. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

I know it sets my mind to racing. Is that what you find in the couch cushions of a HomeGoods sofa? And I thought finding the occasional Jolly Rancher in my sofa was exciting. (I do wish they were wrapped, though.)

All joking aside, Ortiz said the donation will be very helpful to Family Promise’s temporary housing program. Family Promise is probably best known for working with area congregations to use churches to house homeless families for a week at a time. But the nonprofit also operates a network of houses throughout Lawrence that are used as longer-term temporary housing for homeless families. Family Promise has rent and utility expenses at those homes, and Ortiz said the HomeGoods donation would go a long way in helping meet those obligations.

My understanding is that HomeGoods makes donations to nonprofits across the country as part of its grand opening celebrations, but I’ve got a message in to a HomeGoods spokesperson for more information.

As for HomeGoods, the store is a pretty big deal for the south Iowa Street corridor. It is taking the remaining 22,000 square feet of vacant space that was in the former J.C. Penney building at 3311 Iowa St. The closing of the Penney’s store last year created concern, but it didn’t take long for a new crop of retailers to remodel and fill the building. HomeGoods is the last to open in the refurbished space. Also in the building is 5 Below — a discount chain that sells items geared to the teen and kids market — and Hobby Lobby, which moved from 23rd Street.

That large building is still vacant, although I’ve previously reported a plan has been filed to subdivide the building, which usually is a sign that a tenant is near. There has been some speculation that Harbor Freight, a discount tool retailer will take part of the space. The company continues to advertise for employees for a store opening in Lawrence, but it hasn’t yet revealed a location.

At HomeGoods, you won’t necessarily find tools, but you’ll find plenty of things that can result in some projects around the house. The store, which is a sister store to TJ Maxx and Marshalls, bills itself as the “leading off-price home decor store.” That means it sells discounted items in a number of departments, including furniture, rugs, lighting, decorative accessories, kitchen and dining, bedding, bath, pet accessories, storage, outdoor and several others.

HomeGoods will have its grand opening at 8 a.m. Sunday, at 3311 Iowa St. The store will be the seventh in the Kansas City area for the company. Nationally, the retailer has about 650 stores. The company estimates the store will employ a mix of 65 full- and part-time employees.


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