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Gresham Goodwill on the go

Charity planning spring move to old Stuart Anderson site
by: John Klicker, The Goodwill store on Northwest Fairview Drive plans to relocate just down the street to Northeast Burnside Road in 2008.

Gresham's Goodwill outlet is changing locations, and the non-profit will turn from renters to landowners, organization officials said.

The current location on Northwest Fairview Drive will close in spring 2008. The new store is expected to open the next day in a larger space a few blocks away on Northeast Burnside Road, said Dale Emanuel, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette spokeswoman.

Goodwill will own the new spot, which once housed a Stuart Anderson's steak house.

'It's a much better position to be in,' Emanuel said. Goodwill is investing $2.6 million in the deal.

The new site will be 22,000 square feet, including 12,000 square feet of retail space alone; the current space, which Goodwill has occupied for 14 years, is 13,000 square feet.

'It's smaller than we would like,' Emanuel said of the current space, noting that Gresham has grown considerably in 14 years.

Customers seemed nonplussed by the news Friday, March 9. Bob Roberts of Gresham was shopping with his wife, Linda, for a tie at the store.

He said he was aware of the impending move and had no problem with it.

'I think it's just right down there,' he said outside the store, pointing east down Burnside.

Indeed, Goodwill isn't going a great distance. But the new site will offer better access and visibility, and be more suitable for retail sales, said Mike White, store manager.

'People driving by will certainly know about the new location,' he said.

The new store will have a grand opening featuring fresh merchandise, White said. Current items will be marked down and whatever's left will then be transferred to Goodwill outlet stores.

'We relocate stores all the time,' White said.

The store's 55 employees will be transferred to the new location; no staff changes are expected. The new store will also have a donations drive-thru and a job connection center.

Goodwill has served the Gresham area for 26 years, according to a company press release. The first local store had a mere 5,000 square feet.

'Nearly 92 cents of every retail dollar provides vocational opportunities - including jobs, vocational training and job-placement services - to people with barriers to employment,' the release says.

'We're not the world's largest garage sale,' Emanuel added. 'We know what communities need in terms of job services.'

Last year, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette provided services to more than 15,300 people. The regional charity runs nearly 40 stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Goodwill officials hope to break ground Sept. 1, Emanuel said.