Goodwill to build new $3.1M shop, warehouse in Kennewick

A new place for bargain shoppers will swing open its doors in Kennewick next year.

Goodwill Industries of the Columbia, which oversees nine retail stores in seven cities, including five in the Tri-Cities, plans to build a $3.1 million retail store and warehouse with 20,205 square feet of space on Columbia Center Boulevard.

Construction begins this month with completion expected by August and the store opening by Sept. 1.

“We feel Columbia Center Boulevard will be a really good location for traffic and sales,” said CEO Ken Gosney of Goodwill Industries of the Columbia.

About half of the new building will house the retail space at 345 S. Columbia Center Blvd., between the Flower Farm and Fred’s Appliance. Goodwill bought the 2.5 acres earlier this year.

G2 Construction of Kennewick is the general contractor. Archibald & Co. Architects of Richland is the architect.

The warehouse will have 79 parking spaces, house the agency’s product processing area and include an attached donation drive-thru.

“We live in a very generous and supportive community, so we probably average 35,000 donations a month throughout the territory. One donation is a U-Haul full of stuff. That’s one just donation,” Gosney said.

Goodwill also plans to build a donation center at the corner of Keene and Kennedy roads in West Richland in the coming year that’s across the street from Roasters Coffee and next door to the future Tim Bush Car Wash.

Gosney said Goodwill recently bought half an acre from Bush for the project. The facility hasn’t been designed yet but will be at most 1,500 square feet, he said. Construction could start in late spring or early summer.

He said passersby can expect to see a donation trailer on the property soon so people become familiar with the location.

Gosney oversees a territory that includes stores in Wenatchee, Sunnyside, Walla Walla and Hermiston, in addition to two in Pasco, two in Kennewick and one in Richland.

The local Goodwill also runs an online retail store at Shopgoodwill.com, which operates like Ebay by accepting bids on items. “It’s nuts what you can find on there,” Gosney said.

The opening of the new store means the eventual closure of the Kennewick Avenue store.

“This new store will allow us to become more efficient. Because we currently lease two facilities in Kennewick, we will be vacating the Kennewick Avenue one for sure and potentially the store off Dayton Street as well, but that’s up in air right now,” he said. “Leases can be very expensive when you’re not building equity.”

He said projections indicate his territory will have about $20 million in overall revenue in 2019. That includes revenue from the stores and some state program contracts.

About 9 percent of the local territory’s revenue goes toward administrative costs, Gosney said.

“We run pretty lean at the administrative level,” he said, explaining that 91 cents for every dollar in revenue funds Goodwill’s mission, which is well under the international agency’s goal of 14 percent.

Goodwill Industries of the Columbia typically ranks second or third in monthly performance among the 162 Goodwill territories nationwide, a ranking that’s based on a variety of indicators, ranging from expense-to-donation ratios and donations per household, Gosney said.

The new Kennewick store and warehouse will provide jobs to 30 to 35 people.

“All the profits from the store support the mission of changing lives through the power of work,” Gosney said, adding, “We put millions of dollars a year into our mission.”

And though Goodwill is most well known for its second-hand deals, its employment services are “a huge part of our mission,” Gosney said.

“We’re unlike other nonprofits. We have two very different sides to our agencies: the retail side, which comes with all the bills and stresses of any business, and the employment side,” Gosney said. “One is focused on being profitable and efficient, and the other side is focused on how do we take profits from our retail side to support the mission side.”

Goodwill’s goal is to help people overcome poverty, unemployment and barriers to a better life. That’s the focus at the Employment Connection Center at 3521 W. Court St. in Pasco, next door to the store.

The nonprofit placed 571 people in jobs and assisted 3,439 people from January to September this year. Gosney said the agency is on track to place 750 in jobs and assist about 5,000 by year’s end.

In 2017, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia helped place 552 people in jobs.

“People shopping and donating is impacting thousands of lives,” Gosney said.

People come to the employment center, which has a computer lab and jobs board, to get help with their resume, brush up on interviewing skills and get help with job placements from employment specialists. The services are free and open to anyone.

“We’ve specialized in helping people with barriers to employment, from those who just got out of prison to those recovering from drug addictions or disabilities,” Gosney said. “But also it could be a CEO who just got laid off. These are all free services and all supported by funds we make from the stores.”

The local Goodwill territory employs 275 full-time workers, offering a competitive benefits package, and has about 100 people with disabilities in job training programs, Gosney said.

The training program’s goal is to provide participants with the skills they need to land a job they’re interested in.

“Their disabilities range from really severe to not so severe, but the goal is not to have them always with us, even though that may be the case, but what is going to be the best option for them,” Gosney said.

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