Goodwill Celebrates Grand Re-Opening in Allendale Shopping Center
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Eager shoppers were lined up around the side of Allendale Shopping Center for the Goodwill’s grand opening Saturday morning.
"This child that you see, this beautiful store, a flagship store, it has taken thousands and thousands of hours for us to nurture this child," Senior Director of Supply Chain Management and Territory Expansion Maryam Kamangar said during a ribbon cutting event.
"To get it standing up and be walking to this point that you see here."
The flagship store —located in the former Big Lots— has a retail space that is over four times larger than its previous location next to Jo-Ann Fabrics on Dalton Avenue, increasing from 2,000 square feet to 9,500 square feet.
There is also an additional 9,500 square feet in the back room for processing donations, a space that was previously only 800 square feet, and 4,000 square feet of space in the basement. This gives the retail store and donation center a total of 23,000 square feet.
Kamangar said that when she heard that the former tenant was vacating the storefront about nine months ago, she knew they had to move in.
Goodwill Industries International Inc. is a nonprofit that provides that job training, employment placement services, and other community-based programs for those with barriers to employment. The retail store items are donated and almost all of the profits go towards these initiatives.
"The most important thing about Goodwill is Goodwill changes lives, that's what Goodwill does," President and CEO of Goodwill of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont David Twiggs said.
The speakers all recognized that the Goodwill would not exist without donors filling the retail spaces and applauded the community.
"I think the most important thing in our territories, 156,000 households, and there are 130 something thousand of us folks who live in these houses," Twiggs explained. "And it's that donation in the attic, in the basement, when you're moving, that you bring here that changes lives."
Goodwill has hired six new employees to work at its Allendale location and plans to add six supported employees from the Department of Developmental Services, a supervisor, and two job coaches.
A number of local and state officials attended the opening ceremony.
State Rep. Tricia Farley Bouvier said that this is an example of the "very best" in the community.
"What are we doing here? We’re providing low-cost items for people who need it, we're providing valuable work training and experience for those who need that," she explained.
"And in this world where we need to be paying attention to climate, we need to be working towards zero waste, and can you think of a better way to work towards zero waste?"
District Attorney Andrea Harrington pointed out how the Goodwill aligns with her office’s initiative to decriminalize poverty.
"The reason why I'm here today is because the mission to empower people here in our community and to lift people up through opportunity is very closely aligned with my mission in the Berkshire District Attorney's office to decriminalize poverty," she said.
"And I cannot do that alone and goodwill cannot do that alone so this is a community endeavor for all of us that is so critical to individuals here in our community and collectively for the health and the safety and the future of our entire county."
Director of Administrative Services and Public Information Officer Roberta McCulloch-Dews represented Mayor Linda Tyer at the event and Councilor At Large Pete White represented the City Council.
McCulloch-Dews explained that she is on a billboard for Goodwill because she believes in the work and its benefits.
"Goodwill for as long as I can remember has been one of the greatest community partners we've had," White said.
"Giving people jobs, workforce training, bringing things out of the waste stream and making sure that we actually reuse the products and not throw them away."
Opening events included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a remote broadcast with on-air talent from Live 95.9 (WBEC-FM,) a food truck with barbeque from Smokey Divas, a step dance performance by Youth Alive, and door prizes every hour.
Donations can be made in the back of the store. This location is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
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