North Menomonie: Walmart and Goodwill

Visiting the local Menomonie Wal-Mart was not the most exciting thing in the world but I definitely learned a lot! I’m a business administrations major so all the marketing strategies that Wal-Mart use stuck out to me. The manager giving us the tour told us about product placement, how they choose target markets, store displays, multiple placements of products, and special display units. The special display units were the most interesting to me because we learned they switched them out every two weeks. We also learned that while special display units are used for a product that it boosts sales significantly for that product and nearby products

Claire Q

Even though I have been to many Goodwills, my trip to the Menomonie Goodwill was a completely new experience. Not only did I get a glimpse of the stockroom, but I learned about the strong relationship this Goodwill has the community of Menomonie. 90% of the donations given to this Goodwill are from people living in the community. In fact, sometimes the problem arises of having too many items than they have room for, being that the store was quite small. However, in spite of their size constraints, it was much cleaner and better organized than any Goodwill I have ever seen. I learned of their system to keep the apparel in a rotation so they don’t keep items in the store that are not going to sell. After 5 weeks being on the racks, the unsold clothes are either recycled or sold to other organizations to give to 3rd world countries. Overall, I was impressed with the impact one small store in Menomonie has both locally and globally.

Madeline F

During our visit to Goodwill and Walmart, I was surprised at how much I learned. During our visit, we got to tour the stores and get a sense of how they run things. Despite the differences between the stores, such as the profit and size, there were still some common characteristics between the two. Both stores mentioned how they give back to the community. Goodwill stated how they have different programs to help out, such as donating money to the local high school and senior center. They also offer job services to people getting out of jail who want to reenter society. I was surprised to learn how much Walmart gives back to the community. They make donations to not only the high school, but here at Stout too! Even though they are both widespread businesses, I still could get a sense of them being unique to the community

Kara J

I really liked visiting Walmart and Goodwill because it gave us an inside look at how they help the Menomonie community. Goodwill especially was very oriented towards giving back. The fact that they ship extra donations to other Goodwills in the area and even send items off to be recycled was very interesting. Both of the stores help out the community more than I originally knew, and I am glad they are so involved!

Averie  R.

Our tour consisted of going to visit the Goodwill and Wal-Mart. These places offered huge contrast in how each store has its own philosophy in running their respective business and how each gives back to the community. At the Wal-Mart in town, donations are given to the local high-school and college in the form of tens of thousands of dollars each year; providing funding each year. Goodwill, on the other hand, is given donations from all over the community and sells them back at reasonable prices to those that need the products. Every year, the Goodwill in town is given thousands of articles of clothing, electronics, books, and other re-sellable items, which go back into the community. This is all done without profits; instead the money is given to countries in need, with clothes being recycled. Both shops give back to the community in their own way.

Travis R

We went to Walmart and they took us in back where they receive their shipments.  I found out that they receive 10 shipments per day just for their food department.  They go through the food so fast that they have already sold goods that they haven’t even paid for.  There were also some really awesome murals in the entrances of the employee only section.

Austin R

What I found most interesting during the “City as Text” excursion was the similarities in giving back to the community between Goodwill and Wal-Mart.  Goodwill works very closely with the special education classes at Menomonie High School by using money they have earned to help move these programs along.  Wal-Mart, on the other hand, has donated numerous meals to those who need them and has donated $50,000 to local schools, including UW-Stout.  Both companies place a high value on education, and seek to promote it in the area.  Although Goodwill did not give any exact statistics on how much they donate, it is likely that it is less than Wal-Mart and by a large margin as well.  Even so, whatever Goodwill does donate definitely helps out and so does the money given by Wal-Mart.  These are two admirable companies in terms of giving back to the community.”

Zach R

When people think of giving back to their community, many of us think of Goodwill. Goodwill use their stores to give job experience to people who would otherwise be unemployed; generate large amounts of clothing and shoes for third-world countries; and recycle as much unsellable material as they can salvage. However, giving back isn’t exclusive to non-profits. I was surprised to hear that Wal-Mart is community-oriented. They donate to high school organizations, and even to UW Stout. They even have a sector of their business designated specifically to distributing household necessities such as food, water, clothing, toiletries and laundry detergent in the event of natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina, where Wal-Mart was proactive in providing aid for the victims. Some give Wal-Mart grief because they believe whatever the media tells them, but few complain about a source of charity and hope during a critical time of need for homeless families.

Andrew R

Our group went to Goodwill and Walmart today. It was definitely an interesting experience. I enjoyed the trip to Goodwill much more than the trip to Walmart. Walmart, to me, was very pompous and self-promoting. All the manager seemed to be interested in was bragging about how great their company was as well as trying to get us to buy things. One particular incident was when we went to the electronics section and their idea of a great game night idea was to organize a tournament of Madden NFL. No good games like Halo or Super Smash Brothers; they decided on a football game. So, I guess Walmart is just as detached from society as I thought. Goodwill, on the other hand, seemed to be more interested in promoting their charity work and the fact that they are a nonprofit organization. They seemed to want to show us how they did things rather than get us to buy things. I found Goodwill to be much friendlier and humble, which made it a much more enjoyable place to be.

John R.

“City as Text” was an interesting experience. I was part of a group that visited and toured Goodwill and Wal-Mart. I found Goodwill to be very interesting, just like some will say they found Wal-Mart to be. I had never seen the inside workings of Goodwill and know I have. I never realized the work they had to do after someone drops off a donation. The local Goodwill here in Menomonie receives clothing from the community and uses what they can. Clothes, shoes, and other items that are not in good condition are sent to third world countries or to recycling plants to be recycled into other products. Goodwill does a lot for the community. They use their non-profitable business to create jobs and offer opportunities for people to build their resume. Overall I found the experience to be interesting and educational.

Lucy P

Menomonie in Text was a fun and interesting way to get to know the town we now call home. I along with the rest of group seven ventured across town by bus and toured the local Goodwill and Walmart. It turned out that the two stores were similar in some ways, but in the end their focuses and business strategies are different. Our tour began with Goodwill, a well-known nonprofit organization.  We learned that the store only uses profits to pay for wages and utilities, while the rest go towards the community.  Most of the goods are those that are donated by the community itself and are then resold or recycled. The second and last stop of our tour was Walmart. There we learned that the company profits over 400 billion dollars annually. Last year Walmart donated over 95,000 meals to the Menomonie and Dunn County area. Although both companies are similar in the way that they donate greatly to the community, they differ in their ways of business strategies were Goodwill is nonprofit and Walmart is a profiting company.

Emily P

For our “city as text” experience, we went to Walmart and Goodwill. While these stores seem fairly normal, there is a lot more to them than meets the eye. I learned the most about Goodwill today, so I will focus on that. I always thought Goodwill was just a store full of used things. I’d been there before, and knew they provided excellent Halloween costumes. We met with the store’s manager, and I learned that Goodwill is actually a non-profit organization, and besides paying their employees, all their profit goes to community outreach programs. Goodwill also helps people with disabilities, or who have just been released from prison by providing them with job training and work experience. Goodwill is also a large part of the Menomonie community, where they receive the majority of their donations. The store was very well organized, and had a wide variety of both new and used goods. I enjoyed learning about Goodwill, and am glad to know about how they help the community.

Danielle R

Just got back from our adventure called “City as Text.”  Our group toured Wal-Mart and Goodwill. The main difference between the two stores is that Wal-Mart is out to make a profit while Goodwill is nonprofit.  They took us “behind the scenes” and let us see the warehouses and loading docks.  We learned that the Goodwill store in Menomonie generates approximately $3,000 each day on an average day and up to $5,000 a day during their busiest times (which includes the current season, Halloween). They also told us that whatever items were not quality enough to be sold in the store would be recycled and reused if possible. I think it was a cool experience that not everyone gets to have.

Jamie P


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