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HOPE GETS A NEW HOME: EASTER SEALS-GOODWILL MAKES MOVE DOWNTOWN
GREAT FALLS -Easter Seals-Goodwill will welcome the community at a Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event Thursday at its new location at 425 1st Ave. N. For the staff and clients of Easter Seals-Goodwill, the new building, which was purchased from First Interstate Bank, is more than just a brick-and-mortar structure. It is, officials say, the embodiment of the nonprofit’s mission.
The new location will house several programs and administrative and support offices. Easter Seals-Goodwill purchased the building to centralize its services and customize the facility for the needs of its clients, said Michelle Belknap, president and CEO of Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain region.
“Our facilities were outdated and not functional for our clients,” Belknap said. “This is the environment we’ve always dreamed of.”
For example, the new supported-living kitchen is spacious and boasts modern appliances. Clients who take cooking classes have enough room to watch the instructor and make their own projects.
Eda McKamey takes classes in the kitchen several times a week. One day she may be doing arts and crafts and another day she may be learning how to cook a new dish. Eda, 30, has been coming to Easter Seals-Goodwill for about eight years, said her mother, Denise McKamey.
When Eda first came to Easter Seals-Goodwill, Denise says she was shy, rarely spoke and didn’t make eye contact with people. She now works two jobs after learning skills in the Easter Seals-Goodwill workforce development programs and is much more able to socialize with people thanks to supported living activities that get her out with her peers.
“She has thrived, grown by leaps and bounds,” Denise said. “It’s built up her confidence, and she’s not afraid to go out and try something else.”
Denise said Eda is already raving about the new facility and talks about it often.
“They are so proud that they’re part of this organization,” Denise said of Eda and her peers. “All of these guys have disabilities: They know they’re disabled, they know their shortcomings. Easter Seals takes the ‘dis’ out of it and finds out what they’re strong at, their abilities, and makes them shine through.”
The Great Falls office serves as the headquarters for a four-state region and is one of the largest private employers in Cascade County, with 402 employees in 2012. Ninety employees will work out of the building on 1st Avenue North, Belknap said.
Clients and staff are already seeing benefit, as the new downtown building is starting to be utilized.
For example, in the kitchen in the former location “they were crammed into a tiny space,” said Chelle Feist, community relations officer at Easter Seals-Goodwill. “Now they have a big, beautiful kitchen with a dishwasher, a two-basin sink and lots of room to work. This is our mission in action.”
Visitors to the new building will enter a bright foyer that is markedly different from the bank it replaces. Classrooms have windows so people can see in and out and one wall in the foyer is dedicated to donors.
This is the first full-scale remodel Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain has undertaken in its more than 60-year history in Great Falls.
“There is a huge benefit having facilities more suited to our needs,” Belknap said.
The downtown location will make Easter Seals-Goodwill a bigger part of the community, too, with its employees and clients sifting in and out during the day, Belknap said.
The building will house Medallion Home Care, personal care, supported living, supported employment and workforce development programs, in addition to offices.
The move to the building on 1st Avenue North is Phase 1 in Easter Seals-Goodwill’s efforts to provide better services to its clients and to the community.
Phase 2 has just begun and involves renovating the building located at 4400 Central Ave. to accommodate the adult day services, life skills, OutSources Unlimited and community access programs.
Easter Seals-Goodwill’s capital campaign, begun to fund the changes, has a fundraising goal of $6 million. Of that, the Rice Family agreed to match $1 million. The deadline for the $1 million match is the end of this year, and Belknap said they are close to reaching that amount.
The Goodwill store now located at 1210 9th St. S. will soon move to 1201 7th St. S. Easter Seals-Goodwill will lease the building.
While this move is not part of the capital campaign, it will increase Easter Seals-Goodwill’s ability to serve the community. The new store will feature about double the retail space and will move the sorting plant, now located at 4400 Central Ave., to the store.
All told, six locations will be pared down to three by the end of the capital campaign.
Belknap and Feist added that local businesses have stepped up to help Easter Seals-Goodwill get comfortable in their new location.
Some businesses donated furniture, they said, and others provided in-kind work to renovate the building.
“What this does for the people we serve is so exciting,” Feist said
MISSOULA GOODWILL REOPENING DRAWS A CROWD Aired August 1, 2013 | KPAX | by Brenda Bassett - MTN News
MISSOULA - It was a big day for shoppers as hundreds lined up early Thursday morning to get first grabs at the new Goodwill store on South Reserve Street.
Many have waited for the reopening and despite the rain, there was a tremendous turnout.
A line of people stretched around the building and hundreds filed into what used to be the Missoula Armory, and it wasn't long before merchandise was flying off the shelves.
"A lot of people, a lot of my friends...I knew they were going to be here for the opening, so like I said, it's bragging rights, I couldn't let them get one up on me," shopper Brian Wheeler told us.
Ariel Johnsen, who was the first to arrive for the big event, said she's been looking forward to this day for quite some time.
"I got up at five this morning, drove from Clinton into town," she said. "I got here at 5:45 and waited in my car until the next person came.
She and many others had some great finds, but that's not all they found.
"Lots more space, lots more merchandise. I thought they were going to raise the prices, but they didn't," shopper Brenda Warning observed.
Goodwill has received about 125,000 pounds in donations over the last three weeks, but they've added brand new items to the store inventory as well.
"I have a recent grad from the University of Montana, and this is a great place to furnish an apartment. I actually walked right in and found her a really nice chair, so she was pretty happy," Wheeler added.
And with the recent facelift, Missoulians can easily find more new and used treasures.
"I've been a Goodwill shopper since...there was a Goodwill, and that was way back in the 70's - when it came to Missoula," Warning recalled.
NEW GOODWILL STORE SET TO OPEN IN MISSOULA
MISSOULA - The new Goodwill store in Missoula has an additional 5,000 square feet of space, and employees -- and community members -- couldn't be more excited about the grand opening tomorrow morning.
Employees say they've received more than 100,000 pounds of donations since they moved into the new location one month ago.
Jason Asher, Community Relations Officer for Goodwill, says the new store -- boasting more than 15,000 square feet of space -- is a remodeled and upgraded National Guard armory.
"We can even use that tank door to load our trucks now, which has been very cool to see," Asher said.
Employees said the old store, located off Brooks Street, was bursting at its seams. Now, the Missoula Goodwill has upgraded lighting, brand new flooring, and two donation lanes instead of just one.
"It's a beautiful store, this isn't your typical thrift store," he added.
"My jaw dropped when I walked in for the first time, I just kind of stopped… it's so much bigger than the last store," said Goodwill Associate Allana Triece.
Triece said community members are anxious to explore the new space.
"I know people have kind of talked about camping out, you know for the grand opening and getting here right at 8 a.m.," said Triece.
And, Asher said it's that kind of community support that allowed the business to move to the new location.
He explained, "Without the donations coming in, we never would have been able to do a larger facility to help support our programs."
Asher said the Missoula store is an agency of both Goodwill and Easter Seals International.
"Which allows us to provide both the best of the Goodwill job services and the Easter Seals disabilities services," Asher said.
Asher said more than 92% of Goodwill's proceeds go back into community organizations, like Missoula's "Play Program," which helps children with autism and other developmental disabilities. He added, Goodwill stores provide skills training opportunities for employees and volunteers.
"Folks are coming in, they may not stay with Goodwill forever, but they're going to get the skills they need to be successful for the rest of their lives," he said.
Triece said, "I feel really proud to work for Goodwill just because of what they do and the money they raise."
The Goodwill store opens its doors on Friday at 8 a.m., and the donation lanes are open everyday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
GOODWILL OPENS LARGE NEW LOCATION AS THRIFT SHOPPING INCREASES
Carol Heyerly has plenty of room to work these days. A sorter at Missoula Goodwill for nearly 16 years, Heyerly has helped ready hundreds of thousands of pounds of community donations for resale at three different Missoula Goodwill locations over the years.
This month, Heyerly and the rest of the crew began working in the largest Missoula Goodwill yet. The 11,000-square-foot space inside the revamped Armory building at 2501 S. Reserve St. is set to open Thursday and includes expansive sorting and retail spaces and a 2,000-square-foot warehouse.
“This is so much better,” Heyerly said last week during a break from sorting donations at the new store. “We’ve got more room and we can get the merchandise out more quickly.”
Beyond the sorting space, on the building’s east side is a new, covered donation space where attendants bring carts right out to the cars to collect everything from vacuum cleaners to never-been-worn wedding dresses.
Goodwill began accepting donations at its new space on July 1 and the influx of goods has kept sorters like Heyerly more than busy. In less than 30 days, 71,000 pounds of goods have been donated, said Chelle Feist, community relations director for Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain Inc.
“It’s nice how generous the Missoula community has been because nothing from the old store is coming here,” Feist said. “I don’t think any of our grand openings have had this many donations.”
The retail space at the new Goodwill store is already filled neatly with thousands of pounds of donated items.
A book section greets customers as they come in through the automated sliding glass doors. Shoes sit just behind the books.
Goodwill Missoula will also sell an assortment of brand-new items, such as socks, snacks and small kitchen items, which are spread out around the store.
Filling most of the space are racks and racks of clothing.
The lines of racks are separated into children’s, men’s and women’s, then organized by style, color and size. The new racks are shorter, giving shoppers a wide-open look at the store, Feist said.
Feist estimates that inventory will turn over at least three times during the grand opening celebration.
“A lot of people will come back later in the day,” Feist said.
The new location, which opens at 8 a.m. Thursday, has nearly 60 more parking spaces and includes a designated fitting area with five dressing rooms. An area behind the sorting room will be made into headquarters for the Missoula Goodwill’s shopgoodwill.com store, a popular and growing part of the company’s business, Feist said.
A warehouse will be added soon to store large donations and furniture.
The need for more space was pressing, manager Rita Gollihugh said.
The former space at 2300 Brooks St. was crowded, hard to access and overflowing with excess in all areas, she said. “What I’m most excited about is providing more merchandise,” Gollihugh said. “It’s not crowded and we have a lot more parking.”
Goodwill’s expansion points to an overall trend of continued growth in the popularity of thrift store shopping.
Rocky Mountain Goodwill’s 13 stores sold nearly $17.5 million worth of merchandise in 2011, according to the Northern Rocky 2011-2012 annual report.
Missoula Goodwill is part of Northern Rocky Mountain Inc., which includes a network of 13 Goodwill stores across Montana, southern Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.
Bargain prices are a draw, and the increase in donations means variety and quality are high, Gollihugh said.
Clothing and shoes move the fastest at Missoula Goodwill. Gollihugh has noticed an increase in the amount of brand-name clothing donated. It’s also surprising, she said, how many of the donated items are brand-new.
Clothes at Goodwill are evaluated for quality and priced at about half off retail price.
“People are realizing the value,” Feist said.
A second Missoula nonprofit organization that uses a thrift store to fund community programs is also expanding to meet demand from shoppers and to house the influx of donations that continually pour in.
The YWCA Missoula’s Secret Seconds store at 1136 W. Broadway will double in size when the new building opens Aug. 9.
“I’ve noticed, I’ve been at the YWCA for 20 years, in the last decade the stigma around thrift shopping is just dissipating,” YWCA Executive Director Cindy Weese said. “Our shoppers are from all socioeconomic backgrounds ... There is a hip cool factor to it now and the stuff offered in the stores in high quality.”
The extra room inside the new building has tripled Secret Seconds’ processing space and allowed it to add a furniture section, Weese said.
YWCA also has a Secret Seconds store on Kensington Avenue.
Sales have steadily increased at Secret Seconds throughout the years. The organization now gets more than 30 percent of its revenue from Secret Seconds.
The extra square footage will add more money to the pot. It’s estimated that the addition of 24,000 square feet will bring in an extra $142,000 of undesignated operating funds for programs.
“Government funding was steadily decreasing over the years, as the store income was going up,” Weese said. “(The stores are a) huge asset and great way for community members to support a social services organization.”
At Goodwill, store revenue is used to help support the organization’s host of community programs, many of which assist families with disabled children or help with job training.
Feist agreed with Weese that people like that their donations go to a good cause, Feist said.
The new Goodwill gives everyone what they want – a convenient place to drop off donations and a great place to shop – to make sure the organization’s mission thrives, Feist said.
“The more we grow retail,” she said, “the more we can keep programs up and running.”
EASTER SEALS-GOODWILL PROGRAM AWARDED 3-YEAR CARF ACCREDITATION
CARF International announced that Easter Seals-Goodwill has been accredited for a period of three years for its Administration of CARF accredited programs in Boise, ID and Sheridan, WY. Easter Seals-Goodwill has been CARF accredited since 1976 in various programs and services in Montana, Idaho & Wyoming.
This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.
CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. For more information about the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website at www.carf.org.
For additional information, contact Dana Paulson at 406-657-9723.
Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain Inc. is a non-profit human services organization that serves over 25,500 people in more than 58 different programs in 50 locations across Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. Its staff of over 1,300 professionals is dedicated to creating solutions that change lives.
EASTER SEALS-GOODWILL CELEBRATES SUMMER
About 160 Easter Seals-Goodwill participants, staff, and volunteers are having some fun in the sun! This non-profit human services organization serves more than 25,000 people with developmental disabilities or aging adults across Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. Today's 6th annual summer carnival, complete with dunk tank, music, and games, is a chance for building community. Team Leader, Danni Altenburg, says, "it doesn't matter if we have a disability or not. We can still enjoy dancing, games, intermingle with each other and our peers while building friendships".
HOT SONG RAISES THRIFT SHOP AWARENESS
It's been one of the hottest songs on the radio since early 2013.
In his song "Thrift Shop", Seattle-based rapper Macklemore focused on going to thrift stores, and getting bargains. That sits in contrast to rap songs that glorifies wealth and extravagance.
"Whenever I listen to it, I just feel really pumped and excited," said Kyle McClintock.
Until recently, however, thrift stores were seen as an enclave of the aging population.
"Older people, they have a better awareness of spending money, and not throwing it out the window as much," said Christina Nelson from Billings.
As the song continues to play on radio, it now appears designer stores are not the only cool places for younger people to shop.
"well, you'll never find a $50 T-shirt! Well, I can't say never. It'd have to be something pretty spectacular!" said Tammy Zubick-Munguia with the Goodwill store in Billings, referring to a line in the song about overpriced clothing. She said the economy is also driving kids to places normally thought of as stores for "gramps".
"I think there's a lot more kids that don't have their parents buying them as many things, so they have to be more conscious about what they're spending on. They come in and they're thinking 'I'll try it', and they come in, and they're really surprised at what they find," said Zubick-Munguia.
Young people we talked to said checking out thrift shops are definitely worth their time and money.
"A lot better than to pay full price for something that is about the same quality," said Mike Nelson of Billings.
"Look for the best deals that you can, and have fun when you're doing it! Poppin' tags!" said McClintock, who was shopping at Goodwill during the interview.
FIRST EVER PROM NIGHT
Eagle Mount is hosting its first-ever prom on Friday night, giving more than 50 people the chance to dress up and celebrate.