Dozens of people lined up outside the new Goodwill retail store in Rincon in anticipation of its grand opening Thursday morning.
“I think it’s by far the largest crowd we’ve had for a ribbon cutting in a long time,” said Effingham County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rick Lott.
Not that she probably needed to, but Brenda Pollen, interim vice president of mission services for Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, made sure the crowd was enthused.
“Are you excited to have us?” she yelled to the crowd. “Are you ready to shop ‘til you drop?”
Once the ceremonial ribbon was cut, the crowd poured inside the store to hunt for bargains. Goodwill stores sell items such as clothes, accessories and house wares at discount prices.
However, the store at 410 South Columbia Ave. is much more than a bargain hunter’s delight. Proceeds from the store support Goodwill’s efforts to provide assistance to people in need in the community.
“Without the retail store, we would not be able to provide the array of resources to people with disabilities,” Pollen said.
One of Goodwill’s services is to help people find employment. Right next to the new Rincon store is a Goodwill job connection and career center, where people can search job listings, receive job coaching, take literacy courses or study for the GED.
While Goodwill’s focus is on helping people with disabilities, the job connection and career center is available to anyone. It is currently open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., and Goodwill plans to add Saturday hours.
The job center is staffed full-time, as is the Goodwill donation center that abuts the other side of the retail store. In all, the retail store, career center and donation center are employing 25 people.
“This is a wonderful addition to the county,” Lott said.
Goodwill of the Coastal Empire services 33 counties extending south to St. Mary’s, north to Ridgeland, S.C., and west to Vidalia. The organization already had 14 retail stores in operation, and Effingham County seemed like the ideal fit for the next one.
“We’re excited to be here. I love the support you’ve given us so far,” said Mohsen Badran, president/CEO of Goodwill of the Coastal Empire.
“We targeted Effingham,” Pollen said. “You guys are really growing here, and we want to be part of that growth.”
Goodwill retail store
• Where: Fort Howard Shopping Plaza, Rincon
• Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.