With the grand reopening of the Capitola Goodwill store on Aug. 22, outgoing board members Walt Henning and Charles Leigh-Wood –who played key roles in the development of Goodwill’s strategy – and Capitola store staff, production supervisor and assistant manager Jessica Hogue and Taylor Strang, respectively, all reflect on the mission of the organization.
Henning, who is completing his service on the Board at the end of the year, says that the renovations of the Capitola and downtown Santa Cruz stores means that all four stores in Santa Cruz County have been renovated in the last two years. “Our employees have never had better, safer working conditions than they do right now,” said Henning.
Leigh-Wood says that even though Goodwill moved their headquarters to Salinas a year ago, they remain committed to Santa Cruz County and have expanded their workforce development partnership with the County of Santa Cruz. In the last year, Goodwill has provided work experience training hundreds of individuals referred by the county.
Both Henning and Leigh-Wood emphasize that Goodwill Central Coast is a community-based nonprofit organization with a charitable mission and both take pride in the organization’s good work.
Hogue, production supervisor, started with Goodwill six years ago as a temporary employee helping with Halloween and now manages 12 employees in a production space that has tripled due to the renovations. “I’m now a leader within Goodwill and have a career rather than just a job.”
“I started in 2014 as a participant in Goodwill’s work experience program. Now I’m the assistant manager for our biggest store,” says Taylor, who says that she has benefitted from Goodwill expansion.
“The expansion of our Capitola store,” said Taylor, “has made it possible to accept, process and sell more donations which opens up more jobs for our local community. Not only has it created a better work environment for employees but a more organized shopping experience for our customers.”
The store at 1550 41st Avenue in Capitola will host city officials, Goodwill board members and staff for a grand reopening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22, and will open to the public at 9 a.m.
The store has expanded into an adjacent space, growing from 11,500 square feet to 17,500 square feet, expanding and improving its donation processing area and retail sales floor. The expansion also allows Goodwill to add six more full-time employees to its current 24 employees.
“We still have a very strong commitment to Santa Cruz County,” said Ed Durkee, President and CEO, referring to the recent move of Goodwill Central Coast headquarters from Santa Cruz to Salinas.
“Once completed, we will have remodeled, moved or renovated all four retail stores in Santa Cruz County in less than 24 months,” Durkee continued. “This is all part of our strategy to serve the community by turning their donations into the best jobs possible.”
Goodwill’s Santa Cruz store at 204 Union St. is also getting a new look and is scheduled for completion about the same time as the Capitola store.
Andy Stone, director of the Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board, says that Goodwill is a good partner of the County. “The County likes working with Goodwill because of the number of high quality worksites that they have throughout the County.” He said that Strang, the assistant manager of the Capitola store, is a great example of how county residents can use County services to get back into the labor market.
Goodwill Central Coast, a private 501(c)3 non-profit organization, began in 1928 in the city of Santa Cruz and today has expanded into three counties: Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo. Goodwill Central Coast now employs over 600 people, including employment training professionals, sales personnel, donation center attendants, warehouse and distribution workers, and administrators.
Its programs strengthen communities by improving job growth, the lives of individuals and families, and the health of our environment. Each year Goodwill assists more than 9,000 job seekers get back to work and reclaim financial and personal independence. Goodwill provides a positive learning environment that creates brighter futures through connecting people to meaningful work.
Capitola Goodwill Donation Center and Store, 1550 41st Avenue, Capitola, (831) 462-1300 Website: https://www.ccgoodwill.org
Store hours: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday