Press Releases & Community News

Jul 22, 2015

Holland Goodwill to open July 31, includes career center, temp agency

Goodwill in Holland Township will be firmly joined with the mission it has always supported when it reopens on Friday, July 31. For the first time on the West Michigan lakeshore, the Holland Goodwill store, located at 393 E. Lakewood Blvd., will also host a Career Center and GoodTemps.

“It’s kind of evolutionary — evolutionary, revolutionary,” said James Cherney, retail operations director for Goodwill Industries of West Michigan Inc. “We’re trying to pull everything together, and it really makes sense to marry the mission along with the other part of what we do so that people understand that we’re not just about taking the castoffs and used clothing and furniture and things and turning it into money; that money is actually being used to go back into the community and do good.”

About 83 percent of Goodwill Industries International Inc.’s $5.17 billion in revenue was spent on programs in 2013, according to the website. About $3.8 billion of revenue came from retail sales at its more than 3,000 stores and online auction site.
“Goodwill’s mission is to provide growth opportunities to people,” said Jennifer Tucker, mission services director for Goodwill Industries. “The Career Center side really does everything to get someone prepped and ready for a job.” The center helps with job searches, retaining jobs and financial coaching, she said. “It’s not enough just to be able to get the job, but what do you do with the money once you have it,” Tucker said. “It’s really those long-term supports.”

GoodTemps is a full service, nonprofit staffing agency that works hand-in-hand with the Career Center by connecting employers with job seekers who have “barriers to employment,” said J.D. Wallace, GoodTemps director. Barriers can be anything from lack of childcare or transportation to being a victim of a crime to having a criminal record, he said.
“We work with those people to remove those barriers, or remediate those barriers, to the point that they can get a job and keep a job,” Wallace said.

Together, GoodTemps and the Career Center are “one-stop employment,” he said.
Although Ottawa County’s unemployment rate is 4 percent, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tucker said the Career Center can help with “upward mobility.” Tucker said she wants to help people find careers.

About 11.2 percent of Ottawa County’s population falls below the Federal Poverty Line, compared to 16.8 percent in Michigan, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The median household income is about $56,000, compared to about $48,000 statewide. “We could all just go out and get a part-time job somewhere, but to really work with a coach individually, to have that dream come true, to be able to articulate that, and for us to help you through that employment journey, I think would be why (this collaboration is here),” Tucker said.

Last spring, Goodwill purchased nearly an acre of land adjacent to its long-standing location. Construction began in January.
The new 14,000-square-foot store has a price tag of $2.2 million. It’s located just north of the previous store, which was built in 1993. In 2003, it was expanded and renovated. Earlier this summer, it was razed to make room for a parking lot in front of the new building.
“Parking was atrocious,” Cherney said. “I hate to say we built the store for a parking lot, but we kinda did. We really needed the space for our customers and our donors." The inside of the former store was also crowded, said Brett Rockey, store manager.

The Holland store serves more people - both shoppers and donors - than any other store in the lakeshore district, which covers from northern Allegan County through Manistee County, Rockey said. “We had no room to warehouse the clothes, and no room to process in the back room,” he said. “The donation base here is massive. … We really outgrew our space.” A lot of donations were shipped to warehouses to fill other stores, Rockey said. The facility employs 30 people, and Rockey will be hiring after the store opens, he said.

In 2013, more than 260,000 people gained a job with Goodwill’s help, according the international website. That same year, program participants increased their collective lifetime earning potential by about $15 billion.
Goodwill of West Michigan Inc. served more than 5,500 people with its programs, and placed about 1,500 people in jobs in 2014, according the district website.

“What this Career Center does is really locks up our relationship, and that mission portion of what we do in Ottawa County, and that’s really the great part of this whole thing,” Cherney said. “We’re proud. The store is going to be beautiful; it’s going to be awesome. None of it is possible, though, without the Holland community.”

There will be a grand opening celebration at the store at 9 a.m. Friday, July 31. It will include giveaways, prize drawings and refreshments. As part of a long-standing Goodwill grand opening tradition, a $100 bill will be hidden somewhere in the store for a shopper to find.

Originally posted by Holland Sentinel here.