New Goodwill store opens

Published 11:13 pm Friday, February 3, 2012

New store: Mayor Linda T. Johnson joins Goodwill employees in cutting a ribbon at the new store in North Suffolk on Thursday morning. It will be the third location in Suffolk for Goodwill, which employs people who may not otherwise be able to find jobs.

As customers waited in the damp chill of an early February morning, a couple of dozen Goodwill employees and guests gathered at the front door of the new store in North Suffolk to mark its official opening.

The new, 15,000-square-foot facility at the Food Lion shopping center at 6540 Hampton Roads Parkway has everything for the family, including clothing, electronics, refurbished computer equipment, toys, books, housewares, furniture and home accents.

“The name says it all,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said during a short ribbon-cutting ceremony before the doors officially opened. “It’s about goodwill.”

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The new retail outlet is Goodwill’s third in Suffolk and helps the nonprofit organization achieve its larger goal of putting people to work who might otherwise not find jobs, according to CEO Charles Layman.

Goodwill attempts to change lives, in part by providing job skills training and career development for individuals with obstacles to employment, company officials stated in a release announcing the store’s opening.

“Our stores are critical to our ability to deliver our mission services, and we are pleased to offer Suffolk residents another way to support us while getting great value on items they need,” Layman stated in the release.

Through its Enclave Supported Employment Services program, Goodwill offers training, assistance and specialized supervision to disabled and special-needs adults who require ongoing supervision but are able to work in an integrated employment setting.

“It’s a really great program,” Goodwill spokeswoman Ellen Thornhill said at the ribbon-cutting event. “It’s very productive for Goodwill, and we have fabulous workers.”

Thornhill said the new store will employ 18-22 workers.

The store’s location will be highly accessible, both to those employees and to customers.

“This is probably the best location in South Hampton Roads,” said Dean McClain, Suffolk director for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. “This is probably the center of Hampton Roads. And in the next 30 years, it will be the heart.”

Goodwill has two other Suffolk locations — a traditional thrift shop in the Suffolk Plaza Shopping Center on North Main Street and a media store on Bridge Road.

The newest location will have more of a traditional retail feel, Goodwill officials said, with knowledgeable sales staff, a return policy and a frequent donor discount shopping program, as well as competitive pricing that puts the average cost for adult clothing at $4.99. There is also a covered, drive-through area for donation drop-off.