The Goodwill store that opened Wednesday in Oxford continues that mission. Its 10,000-square-foot retail space in the former Goody’s location next to Walmart is chock full of gently used clothing and household furnishings – clean, sorted and tagged.
“These retail stores are just a means to an end to serve our mission,” said Keith Chapman, Mississippi operations director. “The jobs that we create out of this store are the most important function. ... These are 40-hours-a-week, full-time, benefited positions.”
Several Goodwill stores are already open in DeSoto County, and other locations are planned for Tupelo and Corinth. Each will be a community center offering free social services.
“We will eventually have Spanish classes, English classes, computer classes,” said LuAnne Kirschner, marketing director. “We also help people get mortgages. We educate them and coach them to manage their finances.”
Goodwill stores draw patrons from those stretching dollars by necessity to those hunting for treasures one might find on “Antiques Roadshow.”
“In our parking lots, you’ll have the beater beside the Beemer,” Chapman said. “We call it ‘upscale resale.’”
The store in Oxford is attractively laid out with merchandise ranging from suits to ceramics.
“If merchandise doesn’t sell through our stores, we move the inventory,” Kirschner said. “If it still doesn’t sell, it’s bundled up and shipped to Third World countries.”
Chapman said Goodwill could be considered “the greenest business out there” because it provides new purpose not only for cast-off clothing and furniture, but also for people most other employers did not want.
“When it comes to our mission capacity,” he said, “we recycle people and get them into the work force.”