Despite Thursday’s drizzle, thrifty shoppers and self-proclaimed bargain fashionistas packed Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina’s latest location off St. Matthews Road.
“We are so excited about the turnout today and the support of the community,” said Tina Marshall, vice president of corporate relations for Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina.
“We’ve held several donation drives leading up to the grand opening so that we could fill the store and we are just overwhelmed by the support,” she said.
Orangeburg Resident Keisha Garner was one of the first customers in line.
“Shopping at Goodwill is not only about searching for a great bargain, but in these tough economic times I’m not only saving money, but I’m also helping the local economy,” she said.
After an employee pep rally and prayer, the ribbon-cutting ceremony was under way and shoppers began browsing the aisles of the retail store searching for hidden treasures. In addition to gently used and new clothing, there was a variety of household goods, indoor and outdoor furniture, electronics, toys and other items.
The nonprofit has a mission of providing jobs, job training and placement for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Officials plan to open a Job-Link center here in perhaps the next three months to provide people with free employment services including job searches and resume help.
“Ninety-two cents of every dollar a customer spends goes to support job training and placement programs for people,” said Charlie McBride, Goodwill Industries director of workforce development for the lower Midlands.
Ashley Priester, store associate and student at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, said the grand opening kept her extremely busy but she is thankful to work for a great company with hardworking, honest people.
“Goodwill is not just about retail. This corporation does wonderful things behind the scenes to help the community and that is phenomenal,” Orangeburg Young Professionals Chairwoman Rachelle Jamerson-Holmes said.
McBride said about 30 people are employed at the new location. He hopes that with the success of the store, more people will be hired.
“The support of every donation is essential for Goodwill to achieve its mission and build a better community,” McBride said.
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