Goodwill Industries grows retail footprint in GA, SC - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Goodwill grows retail footprint in GA, SC

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Moshen Badran said you never know what you will find when you shop at Goodwill.

"We have great items at great prices,'' said the president and CEO of Goodwill of the Coastal Empire.

You also never know where you will find Goodwill next, with seven new retail stores opening in the last 20 months in the area, bringing affordable shopping options to 33 Georgia counties, from Vidalia to Brunswick.

"For us," said Tammie Blaha, Goodwill's vice president for corporate affairs, "it's about the fact that we are able to serve so many more individuals in the community."

While bargains on clothing, accessories and housewares help families maximize their means, the retail stores are really a means to Goodwill's end game.

"We are driven by our mission," says Badran, "And as long as we have people who are unemployed, we need to reach out to them. And to reach out to them, we need resources. It's a cycle; to get resources, you need to generate funding. And the biggest engine in our machine is our retail stores."

The growth of Goodwill's Job Connection centers, which offer training, support and placement to the unemployed, has mirrored the expansion of its retail stores.  

With every item donated and sold, someone is one step closer to a much needed job.

"These are people who are just transformed from depending on welfare and public assistance systems to being tax payers and having that dignity of receiving a paycheck and running all the affairs of their life," says Badran. "This is the sort of thing that we do. It's part of the economic activity Savannah and the Coastal Empire, helping as many people as we can."

In the Job Connection Centers, that help can come in the form of resume building and interviewing tips or from placement in the hundreds of part and full-time jobs Goodwill helps facilitate every month.

Of Goodwill's 10 job connection centers in the Coastal Empire, nine have opened in the last year and a half. But they all work in template with the retail stores that are popular for a different type of assistance.

"This is a model that's working, it's working everywhere else. We have nine more [Job Connection Centers] and we see thousands of people collectively," he said.

"So, the more you open stores, the more you generate funding and the more you'll be able to place people, to help in the economic independence of people in our communities. So, that's why we're growing and that's why we're expanding and we need to continue this on an ongoing basis."

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