By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN – When one thinks of a resale store, drop-down lights, soft yellow walls and hardwood floors don’t readily come to mind.
But Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit’s nonprofit Dearborn store, 22451 Michigan Ave., boasts those designs and more to help people redefine their view of what a secondhand store looks like, Jeffrey Ukrainec, director of donated goods for Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, said.
Goodwill, located at the former Inca Computer store which sat empty for 15 years, will celebrate their grand opening Sept. 8.
Before the grand opening the 15,000 square-foot store will host a donation drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. August 18 in front of the store.
Ukrainec said the grand opening is a long time coming.
“We closed down our retail division in 2000 for a variety of reasons,” Ukrainec said. “We became a burden on our agency that was losing money and we got out of it and focused on other revenue services.”
Ukrainec said after Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit completed a market analysis they found out if a store is positioned just right – with an inviting design layout and staff- it can prosper.
“We did that with the Canton Goodwill store and almost two years later Canton has taken off,” Ukrainec said. “That is why we are developing this store and looking to develop many more within metro Detroit.”
But before a Goodwill store could open in Dearborn, Ukrainec and Goodwill Director of Public Relations and Special Events Mark Lane requested approval from the planning commission since January; after a few challenging meetings the commission approved the store on April 9. On April 18 the Zoning Board of Appeals granted the store’s final approval.
The renovation expenses cost about $500,000.
Lane said one issue was the donation drive-up window because some thought the donation area would turn into a drop box, which might make the area look unsightly and promote crime.
“When we first started talking with the city about this people didn’t really get the concept,” Lane said. “But our thought is any person that comes in, we want to make sure we touch them. We want them to know why and how they are helping Goodwill.”
Lane said the store already has a full line of clothes, housewares and some furniture from the Canton store and from a warehouse, but not all donations are accepted.
“There are certain items that just don’t land in the store,” Lane said. “Items have to be a higher quality, they can’t have tears, rips, or have buttons missing. They can’t have stains on the clothes..”
Lane also said the excitement from the public is growing.
“I hear, ‘when is it opening? I have clothes that I want to donate,’” Lane said. “When you look at what we went through to get the store… 84 percent of the businesses and residents wanted this and that is all I’ve heard. I hear it from going to church to going to the gas station… it is heartwarming.”
Ukrainec said the store will hire about 20 people to work inside and about five others to work in various capacities; adding that jobs and job training are the main component of the store.
“The biggest thing is all of the revenue goes to support our employment training programs,” Ukrainec said. “That is what we are here for : the jobs. That is what metro Detroit needs.”
For more information on Goodwill go to http://www.goodwilldetroit.org. Or to connect with the organization on Facebook go to http://www.facebook.com/GoodwillDetroit.
Store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Donation hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday..
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])