Bargain hunters in the Orchards area will soon have another option. Goodwill has started construction on a new retail location along Fourth Plain at 140th Avenue, just west of the Walmart store and other shops set to go in soon.
“It’s in a growth area, and an underserved area,” says Dale Emanuel with Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette. “We don’t offer Job Connection in that area, and our ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and whatnot.”
The 25,000-square-foot building will have nearly 11,000 square feet of retail space, and should employ around 40 people when it opens. It will include space for Goodwill’s Job Connections program, which includes professional resume creation, schooling in job interviewing, providing work clothing along with job leads and computer access.
The nearest retail location is also on Fourth Plain, about 4.5 miles west, but it was one of Goodwill’s original locations in Vancouver, so it’s not quite up to their current standards of bright, open spaces. The Goodwill Outlet store, where unsold donations are put into bins and more deeply discounted, is about three miles away.
“The Outlet is a whole different animal,” says Emanuel, “and a lot of people don’t cross-pollinate. They just are outlet shoppers or retail shoppers.”
Emanuel says the goal is to open this December, but planning is already underway.
“We hoard some of the best stuff for grand openings, because they’re four days long and they’re crowded,” she says. “And we actually bring in managers and retail managers to man extra cash registers.”
Emanuel adds that a Goodwill grand opening often means lines out the door, and people sleeping in the parking lot waiting for opening. They usually plan to stock the store with four times as much as usual, to account for the four-day grand opening.
“Clark County is very, very good to Goodwill,” she says, “they are sometimes the number one region in the way of giving donations. So, we don’t think we’ll be without donations to fill that store, but for the grand opening itself, we take special care. Because we really want to welcome people, and we want to give them a really good experience.”
Last year people in Clark County dropped stuff off at an area Goodwill store over half a million times, to the tune of more than 33 million pounds of stuff. That was 11 percent more than 2016.