PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Eager shoppers lined the side of the Allendale Mall for the Goodwill’s grand opening on Saturday morning.
“This child you see, this beautiful store, a flagship store, it’s taken us thousands and thousands of hours to raise this child,” said the senior director of supply chain management and Expanding Territory, Maryam Kamangar, at an inauguration ceremony.
“To put him on his feet and walk to this point you see here.”
The flagship store, located in the former Big Lots, has four times the retail space of its previous location next to Jo-Ann Fabrics on Dalton Avenue, growing from 2,000 square feet to 9,500 square feet .
There is also an additional 9,500 square feet in the back room for processing donations, a space that was previously only 800 square feet, and 4,000 square feet of space in the basement. This gives the retail store and donation center a total of 23,000 square feet.
Kamangar said when she learned the previous tenant was moving out of the storefront about nine months ago, she knew they had to move in.
Goodwill Industries International Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides job training, job placement services, and other community programs for people facing barriers to employment. Items from the retail store are donated and nearly all proceeds go to these initiatives.
“The most important thing about Goodwill is that Goodwill changes lives, which is what Goodwill does,” said David Twiggs, president and CEO of Goodwill of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont.
The speakers all acknowledged that Goodwill wouldn’t exist without the donors filling the retail spaces and applauded the community.
“I think the biggest thing in our territories, 156,000 homes, and we’re 130-some-thousand people living in those homes,” Twiggs explained. “And it’s that gift in the attic, in the basement, when you move, that you bring here that changes lives.”
Goodwill has hired six new employees to work at its Allendale location and plans to add six supported employees from the Developmental Services Department, a supervisor and two job coaches.
A number of local and state officials attended the opening ceremony.
State Representative Tricia Farley Bouvier said it was an example of the “best” of the community.
“What are we doing here? We provide low-cost items to people who need them, we provide valuable job training and experience to those who need them,” she explained.
“And in this world where we have to pay attention to the climate, we have to work towards zero waste, and can you think of a better way to work towards zero waste?”
District Attorney Andrea Harrington highlighted how goodwill aligns with her office’s initiative to decriminalize poverty.
“The reason I am here today is that the mission of empowering people here in our community and uplifting people through opportunity is very closely aligned with my mission at the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office of decriminalize poverty,” she said.
“And I can’t do it alone and goodwill can’t do it alone, so this is a community effort for all of us that is so essential for individuals here in our community and collectively for health, the safety and future of our entire county.”
Director of Administrative Services and Public Information Officer Roberta McCulloch-Dews represented Mayor Linda Tyer at the event and General Councilor Pete White represented City Council.
McCulloch-Dews explained that she is on a billboard for Goodwill because she believes in hard work and its benefits.
“As long as I can remember, Goodwill has been one of the greatest community partners we’ve had,” White said.
“Giving people jobs, training the workforce, getting things out of the waste stream and making sure we actually reuse products and don’t throw them away.”
Opening events included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a remote show with on-air talent from Live 95.9 (WBEC-FM), a food truck with barbecue from Smokey Divas, a dance performance by Youth Alive and door prizes every hour.
Donations can be made at the back of the store. This place is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Key words: Allendale Mall, Goodwill,