Goodwill Industries will soon have a new home in Richmond Hill as the company makes plans to inhabit about 20,000 square feet of the former Kroger store and neighbor the recently opened Dollar Tree.
Not only will Goodwill, which is set to open by the end of January, have around 13,000 square feet of retail space, but there will also be a career center and production area of around 7,000 square feet, according to Jan Bass, marketing director for Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire.
Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler said Goodwill will offer area residents another outlet for shopping, and noted he is glad to see another new business come into the area.
“We’ve had two new stores in there in recent months, and hopefully we can get the rest (of the building) filled up,” he said. “We welcome anybody coming in that will be hiring people.”
Bass noted plans to open a Goodwill store in Richmond Hill were in the works before she began with the company in April and said the new location will fill a big need.
“There was a desperate need for Southside Savannah, and we saw people wanted it and needed it, so we wanted to provide services in that area,” Bass said.
Development Authority of Bryan County Executive Director Josh Fenn said the new store will be beneficial to the shopping center.
“They’ll (Goodwill) take up a good chunk of that vacant space left when Kroger relocated and produce income and be a destination spot that will help revitalize that shopping center,” Fenn said. “We’re always glad to have any business or nonprofit operations that are looking to improve the quality of life in Bryan County.”
Together, the retail space and career center will employ around 30 workers, offering employment opportunities to local residents, Bass said.
The career center will also be a benefit to the community, she added, and will offer training resources for job-seekers.
“We offer the ability to job connection,” Bass said. “We do training, resume writing and other career counseling at these centers for people.”
She said the center will help match businesses with employees and collaborate with the community. The centers will also offer amenities like computers, printers, telephones and fax machines.
Currently, career centers closest to the area are in Lyons and Brunswick, Bass said, but career centers will now be built with all new Goodwill stores.
“Our strategic plan for Goodwill’s growth is to build more stores and provide more services in the 33 counties we serve,” she said. “So every new store will receive a career center with it in our new modeling.”
Those interested in employment at the new Goodwill location can apply at the Pooler location, Bass said. Volunteers are welcomed at the career center, she added, and anyone interested should call 354-6611. For more information on Goodwill of the Coastal Empire, visit http://goodwillsavannahga.org.