As the economy takes its time to recover from the recession, more people are turning to places like Goodwill for help.
The former Fleetwood Industries building in St. Lawrence, Berks Co., is now a new home for Goodwill. After more than two years of delays because of zoning issues with the borough and PennDOT, the facility opened on Tuesday.
"Goodwill is an organization that helps in many aspects," said Cheryl Kulp, Goodwill senior retail director. "It helps those people who need their dollars to be stretched, or in some cases they'll actually buy merchandise and possibly resell it."
The Goodwill in St. Lawrence has hired 11 employees, so far. Kulp said she expects to offer more jobs to the unemployed.
"We're hoping that we become a good entity for the community, not only in employment opportunities, but to help them as well for their families," said Kulp.
The 150,000 square-foot facility also features a transportation hub and processing center.
The administrative offices are still under construction. Kulp said offices will begin relocating from Shillington to St. Lawrence in 2012.
The opening of the St. Lawrence store means Goodwill will close its outlet center in Cumru Twp., but the neighboring retail store will remain open.
"We've outgrown that building many years, ago and we needed to find that right building that suited our needs," said Kulp.
The St. Lawrence outlet is now the largest distribution center in the 22 counties Goodwill serves in Pennsylvania. If customers look closely, Kulp said, hidden treasures can be found.
"There's always buried treasure or something that actually might be worth a little bit more than what we actually are selling it for," said Kulp.