Tuesday January 1, 2013

LEE -- In an effort to expand its presence in South County, Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires Inc. plans to open a new store in Lee next month.

The Pittsfield-based nonprofit will rent a storefront formerly occupied by Wares & What-nots that is located next to Joe’s Diner in the historic Norton block on Center Street. A novelty and consignment shop, Wares & What-nots closed on Dec. 1.

The latest Goodwill store will primarily be a donation center with some retail services, according to CEO Frank Engels. The facility, expected to open Feb. 1, will join the other local Goodwill drop-off and retail centers on Dalton Avenue in Pittsfield and State Street in North Adams.

"This is an opportunity to have more of a foothold in South County," Engels said. "We also believe Lee is a great town to be in."

In recent years, Goodwill has established weekly Saturday donation locations on Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington and at the Egremont Town Hall. Engels noted those mobile drop-offs will continue because they have proven successful.

Goodwill accepts donations of clothing, appliances, electronics and furniture -- in good condition -- that are resold in their stores.

"People like to donate to Goodwill, because they know we directly help those in their community," Engels noted.

Joe Sorrentino Sr., whose family owns the Norton block, welcomes the new tenant at the north end of Lee’s downtown business district.


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"It will be good for the town and our end of town," Sorrentino said. "It’s another good business in Lee."

Aside from retail, Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires provides job training, skill development and its newest program, "Suit YourSelf" that assists those re-entering the workforce to dress for success. "Suit YourSelf" accepts new and nearly new clothing, shoes and accessories for all work situations.

The donations are, in turn, donated free of charge to clients of other social service agencies that have been referred to Goodwill.

Engels said the Goodwill store in Lee will participate in "Suit YourSelf."

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.