But in a slow economy, how is the nonprofit finding the means to grow, and what will that growth mean for its customers?
Virginia O’Connell lives in Hanover and visits the Mechanicville Goodwill several times a week. O’Connell was excited to learn that Goodwill is building new stores throughout Virginia.
“I don’t know of a place that somebody doesn’t need help,” says O’Connell. “And this is a place to come.”
The nonprofit derives the majority of its operational budget from selling goods cast off by their previous owner. But last year, Goodwill opened six new stores in the area and plans to expand once again this year.
“And really for the next two to three years, I anticipate that growth to continue,” says Derby Brackett, Vice President of Marketing for Goodwill of Central Virginia.
According to Goodwill of Virginia executives, funding for their expansion comes from tax exempt bonds awarded by the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority.
On July 18th, they were approved for an $8 million bond to build two new retail stores: one in Hampton and one in Goochland.
“It’s important to us to get funding not only from the community but also from other financial resources that are available to us,” says Brackett.
Construction is already underway at the Goochland site just west of the Henrico-Goochland border.
Once completed, the new store will house over 16,000 square feet of retail space.
“But I think it will also enable us to serve more of the community,” says Brackett. “We’ve not been in the Goochland area, and so I think there’s a real need for us to be out there.”
Terry Ferlazzo brings her family to the Mechanicsville Goodwill about once a week, even though they live more than an hour away in Callao, VA.
For Ferlazzo, rationalizing the drive is simple.
“With the economy the way it is or people are out of jobs or whatever the need to, this is somewhere you can come and get what you need,” says Ferlazzo.
An idea Goodwill officials would say aligns closely with their recent success.