LEE -- A regular customer of Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires, Susan Wadsworth is thrilled the nonprofit has opened a store in town.
On Thursday morning, the Lee resident stopped by Goodwill's newest location next to Joe's Diner to purchase three pairs of jeans.
"I love it," she said. "It saves me a trip to Pittsfield."
Wadsworth is among the dozens of people who have immediately embraced Goodwill's retail shop/donation center at the intersection of Main and Center streets, according to agency officials.
"The response has been overwhelming," said Ted Concepcion, Goodwill's director of operations. "People feel good about donating here and the store has a nice boutique feel to it."
The Pittsfield-based nonprofit opened the store on Monday in an effort to expand its presence in South County through promoting its job training, skill development and other services, along with retail.
Aside from clothing, Goodwill also accepts and resells appliances, electronics and furniture -- in good condition. The retail proceeds help fund Goodwill's mission to assist the unemployed re-enter the workforce.
"The donations provide the stock for the stores and the sales support our services -- and that's what we're all about," said local CEO Frank Engels.
The latest Goodwill store will primarily be a donation center with mostly clothing retail, agency officials said. The facility will join the other local Goodwill drop-off and retail centers on Dalton Avenue in Pittsfield and State Street in North Adams.
In recent years, Goodwill has established Saturday donation locations on Stockbridge in Great Barrington and at Egremont Town Hall.
In addition, permanent drop-offs are located at the Sheffield waste transfer station and Lenox Valley WTF recycling and waste transfer facility in Lenox Dale.
A third permanent drop-off is slated for the new headquarters of Daley and Sons Trucking on Route 102 in Lee scheduled to open this spring.
While the Lee store is currently open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. The schedule could change depending on customer demand, according Bill Hall Jr. Goodwill facilities manager.
"We're community-focused and want to adjust our hours to fit the needs of the community," Hall said.
Goodwill's newest program "Suit YourSelf"will also operate from the Lee store. "Suit YourSelf" accepts new and nearly new clothing, shoes and accessories for all work situations. The donations are, in turn, given free of charge to clients of other social service agencies, referred to Goodwill, who are re-entering the workforce.
The ability to dress for success is the first step toward getting rehired, according to Hall.
"We have some individuals who haven't had a job interview in a long time, having worked at the same place for 20 to 30 years," he noted.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.