Goodwill Celebrates Grand Opening in Annandale
Visitors enjoyed refreshments following a ribbon-cutting for the 14th regional location for the Goodwill of Greater Washington.
Annandale residents and representatives from Goodwill of Greater Washington and Capital One Bank celebrated the grand opening of the new Annandale Goodwill store Saturday morning.
The store, located at 7031 Columbia Pike, is the 14th regional location in Fairfax County for Goodwill of Greater Washington. It will serve as a retail store, donation center, and a job-training center. According to Brendan Hurley, CMO for the Annandale Goodwill, the Annandale store is also the largest Goodwill of Greater Washington retail store and donation center in the region at 25,000 square feet.
"This is pretty impressive," said Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-35th), of the store at the grand opening.
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Visitors and customers enjoyed hot dogs, chips, and other refreshments following a ribbon-cutting ceremony which featured Tony Pica, president of the Northern Virginia Market for Capital One Bank and Catherine Meloy, president and CEO of Goodwill of Greater Washington. The store gave out free comic books and crayons to children based on a Presidents' Day theme due to the upcoming holiday on Monday. Capital One Bank volunteers also took part in a book reading for children in the kid’s section.
Capital One Bank provided the $150,000 grant to set up the newly renovated facility. According to a news release, the Annandale location is the third new store to receive financial support from Capital One Bank.
Some Annandale residents have criticized the addition of the Goodwill to the community, believing that “thrift stores” and similar businesses don't attract the kind of redevelopment Annandale needs.
"Goodwill's got a pretty good reputation. How can you not be impressed with this? This place is swamped," said Saslaw, who added that he thought the store was more of a benefit to the community than a detriment.
The Annandale store boasts the largest number of employees of any Goodwill location (a total of 45 employees compared to 25-30 employees at other locations). Annandale is also the second Goodwill training location in the region. The first is at Goodwill of Greater Washington's headquarters in Washington, DC.
Hurley said the training portion of the store is still a work in progress as the organization works to collect funding and additional needed resources, but he expects it to be completed in the next few months.
Once completed, the Annandale Goodwill will offer job training programs for hospitality services, which teaches traineess skills they can use in hotels and restaurants, and programs in unarmed security and protective services. The unarmed security and protective services, Hurley said, is especially appealing for veterans.
The store will also offer a career navigation program for those who are recently unemployed and need help with the job hunt despite a good work history.
“We teach them how to write a resume, prepare for an interview, how to dress properly, all of the tools they’ll need to succeed,” said Hurley.
The timeline for each program varies with the shortest lasting five weeks and the longest lasting 10 weeks. Applications can be filled out at one of the organization’s three career centers in the region in Washington DC, Foggy Bottom, or at Glebe Road in Arlington. There is no fee to participate in any of the programs, but some may require certain qualifications such as a high school diploma or completion of a drug-screening test, said Hurley.
In addition to the partnership with Capital One Bank, the store has partnered with Northern Virginia Community College to offer a program for students where they can earn five college course credits upon completion of certain programs.
Now that the store is open, Hurley said the hope is that it will soon be a self-sustaining location like the other Goodwill stores, which are stocked with primarily donated goods. Five percent of the current overstock inventory in the store is new, while the majority of the items for sale are from other Goodwill locations.
The Annandale location began accepting donations on Jan. 17 prior to its opening on Jan. 26. All donations are sorted and inspected to ensure the items are in good condition and appropriately priced, said Hurley. The donation center is located behind the store. Donation hours are 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Goodwill of Greater Washington plans to open at least six more stores by 2015.
The Annandale Goodwill is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.