NORMAN — The next big project for Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma points to a new direction for the nonprofit organization.
For the first time, the agency is building a retail store from the ground up. Crews are expected to break ground this month on the 15,000-square-foot store at Main Street and 24th Avenue NW, with an anticipated opening in March.
Both the location — Norman's busiest intersection — and the look of the store are designed to attract high-quality donations, which are sold to fund the agency's employment programs, said Chief Executive Officer Chris Daniels.
“We need to place stores in areas that will get good donations,” said Daniels, who took over as CEO in 2011. “If the donations are there, people will come and shop. It has been a huge turning point for us.”
The attractive brick facade and landscaped exterior will be a step above the typical Goodwill store, many of which are housed in strip centers or former grocery stores.
Daniels said the Norman location will include the retail store, a donation center and a job connection center, where people can have free access to community services. It will be built on the former Marc Heitz Chevrolet lot next to a new Arby's and an ALDI grocery store, according to J.R. Fulton & Associates. The existing Norman location at 12th Avenue NE and Alameda Street will remain open.
Donations are essential to Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma's mission. Store sales provide 86 percent of its revenue, Daniels said, and demand for its employment services has skyrocketed. A few years ago, the nonprofit helped about 3,000 people; last year, they served 10,000.
We need to place stores in areas that will get good donations. If the donations are there, people will come and shop. It has been a huge turning point for us.”
Goodwill Chief Executive Officer