Two years after closing its Washougal-based donation center, Goodwill Industries is returning to eastern Clark County.
Portland-based Goodwill Industries of Columbia Willamette plans to build a new donation center and retail store at 365 Second St. in Washougal by 2024, according to Jon Hannam, director of retail and marketing services. of the society.
Columbia Willamette’s Goodwill Industries operates 50 retail stores, as well as outlets, two online shopping sites and several donation centers in the Greater Vancouver-Portland area. The company previously operated a small donation center in Washougal, but closed that site in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sometimes we go to communities and start with a donation center because we want to see what the need is and whether people are responding to it or not,” Hannam said. “Coming into Washougal, we just wanted to see what it would be like if we set up a place where people could donate and if there was a need for people to donate goods. It was a very successful and more enlightened place (our decision) to develop our property at the appropriate time.
Hannam said the nonprofit purchased the Washougal site in 2008 and “had an interest in developing a mission-focused service center for some time.”
“We were just waiting for the right opportunity and for more development in the region to take shape,” he said. “It’s been in our heads for a while, and now things have come together for it to happen. We don’t have a facility in that part of Clark County, so we don’t serve the people and our territory by not having an opportunity for the people there.
DOWL, a Portland-based engineering firm, will begin construction on the 23,351-square-foot facility in late 2023 or early 2024, according to Hannam, who predicted the store and donation center could open. in the first quarter of 2024 and bring about 40 jobs to Washougal.
“We’re away from this particular project because (there are) a lot of different things going on,” he said. “We have a few things to wait for, like city permission and things of that nature, and earthworks still need to be done. But everything is going as planned. Each county and jurisdiction has different requirements and ordinances that we must adhere to, so we’re taking matters into our own hands and moving the ball forward as best we can.
GICW recently sought approval from the City of Washougal to proceed with the project.
“The use is a permitted use under the freeway’s commercial zoning designation,” Washougal Community Development Manager Mitch Kneipp said.
The proposed development includes a 71-space parking lot; site landscaping; a pedestrian plaza; loading facilities; drive-through donation aisles; an off-site access road to join the roundabout at Second and “C” streets; pedestrian and vehicular access to First Street; and site improvements, including sidewalks and street trees along First Street.
“I think (the Washougal facility will look like) our store in Orchards,” Hannam said, the Washougal Goodwill site would likely look like Orchards Goodwill.
“This store is also about 25,000 square feet, big, bright and new, with a high-ceilinged warehouse look. And we also have a nice employment connection facility,” Hannam said.
Goodwill Industries International Inc. is a Maryland-based nonprofit organization that provides job training, job placement services, and other community programs to people facing barriers to employment, and hires veterans and people who lack education, work experience or who face work challenges. It is funded by a network of more than 3,200 retail thrift stores, which operate as independent nonprofit organizations.
“Connecting to work is really what we exist for,” Hannam said. “People donate, and we take those donations and sell them, and take those revenues and put them into our mission services program, which (includes) the job connection service as one of the main components. . Anyone can walk in and connect with an employment specialist, and then they get feedback on our program, and then we reach out to other businesses in the community and connect those people to work. We do everything from writing their CV to preparing for interviews to helping them get clothes for an interview – and it’s all free. »