By: BY ANDREW BOARDWINE, Morning News
FLORENCE, S.C. — A rain-soaked Thursday morning was unable to dampen the excitement of Palmetto Goodwill employees and shoppers as they celebrated the grand opening of the store’s second location in Florence, at 260 N. Beltline Drive.
Goodwill officials and employees joined ambassadors from the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce to hold a ribbon cutting at 9:45 a.m. before officially opening the store to customers.
Rick Shelley, director for workforce development for Goodwill in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions, said the goal of constructing the new store is to help with missions and services in the community.
“We’re very excited to be opening our second location,” Shelley said. “This is going to help us expand our footprint in the Pee Dee and give folks another opportunity to promote the mission of Goodwill in the Florence area.”
Shopper Katrienne Ham was one of the first to enter the new store on Thursday and came away impressed with the selection and price.
“I love the Goodwill and the mission they have,” Ham said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing. Nowadays, people don’t have a lot of money and they have things in the Goodwill store that are just as nice for a reasonable price.”
The mission of Goodwill is “to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work.”
Palmetto Goodwill CEO Robert Smith said the organization assists people in finding jobs, trains them in resume building and helps adults who haven’t received a high school diploma get their education and obtain certifications to get back out in the workforce.
Over 90 cents of every dollar made through retail is given back to the community through those education, training and employment programs.
“We bring them in, train them and help them become successful in the workplace,” Smith said. “This store not only serves as an opportunity to employ people, but also an opportunity to train them and place them back out in the community.”
In addition to store manager Ruth Cain and assistant manager Lamar Meyers, 15 store associates were hired in conjunction with the new store opening, according to Palmetto Goodwill.
“We’re really excited to have the Florence community and their support,” Smith said.
People can register all weekend long for a free 60-second Goodwill shopping spree by visiting the store location.
Last year, Palmetto Goodwill placed more than 1,596 people into new jobs and provided services for more than 57,981 in South Carolina.
For more information about its programs and services or to donate, visit palmettogoodwill.org.