Written by Wes Schmidgall
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 00:00
NORMAL — Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries is moving its thrift store in Normal into a new facility that is nearly three times larger than its previous facility.
The new, 22,000 square-foot facility, 302 Landmark Dr., Normal will officially open during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Feb. 1 at 9 a.m., followed by a 3-day grand opening celebration. During the 3-day grand opening celebration, Goodwill Industries will be giving away door prizes.
“Every day we’ll be giving away different door prizes,” said Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries President and CEO Sharon Durbin. “Individuals can come in and register for it and shop and they don’t have to be there in order to receive it, once it’s been announced.”
For the past 15 years, Goodwill Industries has rented an 8,000 square-foot facility at 401 Greenbriar Drive for its thrift store in Normal.
“There was barely enough room for a retail store, let alone additional room,” said Durbin. “The employees didn’t have a break room, there wasn’t ample room to process all of our donations — it was just very tight.”
The previous thrift store location was also “landlocked,” making it difficult for customers of the store to park and drop off donations.
“The current location is landlocked and the maximum parking spaces we have there are about 32, and so it not only constrained how many people could shop, but also it is a very congested area to drop off donations,” said Durbin. “Those are the two drivers that we really focused on to get out of that building because we needed a nice drop-off location and also more parking.”
Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries purchased the Landmark Drive facility, the former Rebbec Pontiac-Buick Inc. building, for $2.7 million in the spring of 2012. It spent around $700,000 renovating the building that has been vacant since 2009.
“It was a car dealership, so you walk in there now and it doesn’t look like a car dealership at all,” said Durbin. “We started out with a big box and filled it out with what we needed for our operations.”
To accommodate its new thrift store facility, Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries hired an additional 15 employees.
The new facility will include a drive-up location for dropping off donations, and extra space that will allow the thrift store to start selling furniture.
In addition to serving as a thrift store and donation drop-off location, the new facility will serve as a career development center.
“It will be a computer lab for individuals to come and learn different programs on the computer,” said Durbin. “They’ll also receive help with job search, resume writing, interview skills. Whatever the need might be to help that person’s skills be sharpened, our job coordinator will work with that individual to help them hopefully find a job.
“We hope people will gain the confidence they need to make that next step.”
Goodwill Industries uses money from its thrift stores to provide employment, job training and other community-based programs for people with disabilities, those lacking education or job experience and others facing challenges finding employment.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 15:10