By Jo Ellis
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
As I was interviewing Shana Dreibelbis and Tina Yates, assistant managers at the Goodwill store in Carthage, a patron came up and introduced herself. “My name is Pam Wolf and I volunteer at the Goodwill store in Des Moines, Iowa,” she told us.
“I just want to tell you this is the very best, top of the notch Goodwill store I’ve ever seen.” (Today marks an opening that will make it even better — more about that later.)
Wolf, who was traveling to the family’s second home on Holiday Island, Ark., said she volunteers at the Des Moines Goodwill as a part of the community service program at the bank where she works.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” she said, describing the store’s marketing and display techniques. As I walked around the store, I had to agree with her assessment. It’s more like a full-service department store than the normal Goodwill or discount store.
That could be because it originally opened as a Fashion Bug, a women’s clothing store. But the expertise of the staff makes a big difference, too. In addition to being set up in departments, i.e. men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes and housewares, Dreibelbis said all her clothing racks (and housewares) are “colorized” — separated into like colors. And aren’t most of us looking for a particular color when we shop?
The Carthage Goodwill store opened soon after the May 2011 tornado destroyed the Joplin Goodwill store. It reopened in February. The reception in Carthage has been good, Dreibelbis said.
“Our old customers stayed and every day we get new customers. We work really hard, and we do a lot of cleaning. It’s very important to us.”
The Carthage and Joplin stores are the only two stores in Missouri operated by the Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, Okla., which has 11 total. Evelyn Keller is the manager of the Carthage store.
As I hinted before, starting today, the Carthage store is opening an additional 3,500 square feet right next door to offer a new service, a donation center where customers can bring their donations of unwanted clothing, toys, housewares, bedding, shoes and jewelry.
Doug Webster is director of operations for the processing center in Tulsa where all the donations will be sorted, cleaned and processed. They then are brought back to the Carthage store. “We’re very happy the community has embraced us,” he said. “Our reception has been good, and we’re pleased that it creates job opportunities for people.”
So gather your surplus of gently used items and bring them on out. Not only will they help people find bargains, it also can provide work, job training and support services for people with disabilities or other employment barriers.
While you’re at it, stop in next door and browse the merchandise. Employees like Jordyn Cole and Tim Watkins are pleasant and courteous clerks who are willing to help you. After scoring a cute Kate Spade handbag for $5, I couldn’t agree more with Pam Wolf’s description of the store as “absolutely wonderful.”
Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.