GREAT BARRINGTON — Great Barrington shoppers looking for a thrifty retail option no longer have to travel — Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont is opening a store in town.
"We've been looking for a location for over 10 years," said organization CEO Frank Engels.
They've finally found one.
The store, which will open next month, will be located in the Laramee Cleaners building by the Price Chopper Plaza. The storefront has 2,000 square feet of space.
"The site fit our budget and it's a great location," Engels said.
Goodwill is a nonprofit organization that uses retail thrift stores and donations to provide job development training and opportunities for disadvantaged members of society. The organization describes itself nationally as a "social enterprise."
On Wednesday, facilities manager Eddie Mutch Jr. was working to get the space ready. Mutch, an Adams resident, started working for the organization three years ago as a truck driver, and now manages all of the organization's locations.
Mutch cut paneling for the ceiling as company Chief Operating Officer David Twiggs worked the phones and emails. Twiggs said the store hopes to hire up to 10 employees.
"We have eight already hired," he said. "Two to go."
Although Goodwill hasn't had a storefront presence in Great Barrington, Engels said the organization has been involved in the community for years. Goodwill had a service truck in town for at least seven years, he said.
The store will be open for donations on Aug. 29, and will open for sales on Sept. 8. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays, 365 days a year.
Engels said "workforce development" in Southern Berkshire County is a driving motivator for opening the new retail store. Part of Goodwill's mission, he said, is working with other social service agencies.
"You have to get into a community to connect to it," he said.
That makes incoming manager Denise Reuger a perfect fit for the organization's mission.
Reuger, a resident of Sheffield, is involved with local Kiwanis clubs, the Great Barrington Lions Club, and the Sheffield Historical Society. This is her first time working with Goodwill, and she's excited for the opportunity.
"Working with Goodwill allows me to continue reaching out and making life better for people in my area," she said. "Now, my community service work ties into my employment."