Good Neighbor Shoppe

‘High-end’ thrift store carries bounty of goods while serving community

LENOIR CITY — Situated only 8 miles from Farragut, the Good Neighbor Shoppe is the area’s “hidden gem” for treasured finds, volunteer opportunities and give-back to the shop’s community.

Leslie Capozzoli, a GNS board of directors representative who also is on its scholarship committee and is one of its managers, defined the shop as an “upscale thrift store” that’s a “hidden gem.”

The shop, located at 420 Leeper Parkway, sells gently used, donated items, with proceeds from the non-profit store going to various organizations in Loudon County to reach residents in need.

“It’s a different kind of place,” Capozzoli said. “Our prices are much lower than the other thrift stores because we’re trying to help people who need things. We’re trying to turn over our incoming wares because we want room for new things to come in, and I think that is part of the success story.

“I think most of our money comes from re-sales of clothing and shoes. But we sell furniture, collectibles, books, linens, toys, sporting goods, so many other things,” she said. “If you think about going to Walmart, all the different departments, other than food, we have all those departments here, pretty much.

“It’s once in a blue moon someone goes out empty-handed,” she added.

“We have lots of people who come from Farragut and sometimes walk in and they say, ‘Oh, I’ve never been in here before. This place is amazing.’ They’ve been in other thrift stores that are smelly, they’re not organized, and we do have 250-plus volunteers. No one takes a paycheck.”

Volunteers work to keep the shop orderly and steam-clean clothing to avoid odors.

“Everyone comes here from all walks of life; most are retired,” Capozzoli said. “We get kids from high school who come to do community service in the summer.”

Moreover, “people bring things here (to donate) because they know it’s for the betterment of the disabled, the needy; and actually, twice a year in September and in March, we switch over our clothing,” Capozzoli said.

The shop was the brainchild of Gene and Roberta Burwell, who “dreamed of opening a give-back-to-the community store,” Capozzoli said, adding they opened the store in 2002. Since then the store has expanded in size and profits.

“Ninety-nine percent of (the proceeds) go back into community grants,” GNS board treasurer Dennis Stoner said. He related how one such grant helped provide baseball uniforms for a team.

Another give-back is six scholarships to graduating seniors at the three high schools in Loudon County.

“We just awarded them this past month,” Capozzoli said May 17. “The students get $2,500 a year for four years, so it’s $10,000 for each student.

“Then, we give out one or two graduate scholarships — either $5,000 if we have two people or $10,000 if we have one,” she added

Proceeds from the shop also help homeless vets, Shangri-La Therapeutic Riding Academy and provide food for animals at P-PAWS Spay/Neuter Clinic in Greenback.

“There are many, many organizations,” she said.

Other beneficiaries include Good Samaritan Center, Child Advocacy Center, Lenoir City and Loudon County’s Family Resource Centers, providing resources for youth development, Boys & Girls Club, Loudon County Education Committee, Loudon County Health Improvement Council, Prevention Alliance of Loudon County, Tellico Village Computers Users Club, supporting senior citizens, the disabled and veterans and disaster relief.

Good Neighbor Shoppe is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday; from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and closed Sundays and Mondays.

For more information, visit or call 865-988-9925.