Goodwill adding six more stores to Richmond area

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -Goodwill Industries is getting ready to add six more stores in Central Virginia. The thrift store chain is looking to increase its revenue -- and job services -- by expanding, at a time when other businesses have been cutting back.

Goodwill has 13 stores across Central Virginia. You'll soon see six more and they will be a little more modern.

At a time when the economy has led businesses to go bust and charities to contract, Goodwill is expanding.

"We're in a major growth mode as we move into 2011," said Ellen Thornhill of Goodwill Industries.

Goodwill plans to add six more stores in Henrico, Chester, Chesterfield, its first store in Goochland, and two in the Chesapeake area. They hope to hire 180 more people and help tens of thousands get jobs.

"Recognizing that the economic situation was not going to get better any time soon and that a lot of our financial donations were drying up, we decided we really need to bolster our retail business because the retail stores are what fund the business that we're really in," Thornhill said.

Goodwill not only provides job training to the disabled and disadvantaged, it offers job search services.  Last year, they helped 22,000 people.  That's a 58 percent increase over the previous year.

"That can be anything from someone walking into our employment centers for a consult on their resume, or to sit and use one of our computers free of charge, to fax something to a perspective employer," she said.

The non-profit plans to pay for the new buildings through $20 million in bonds from the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority.  It says financial donations are down and the quantity of stuff each person donates is down. But that's not keeping Goodwill down.

"Until every person that wants a job has a job that pays a living wage, we're not going stop.  So we need to keep making sure we've got the revenue coming in that can support the programs," Thornhill said.

Goodwill hopes to start building these new stores early next year.

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