Story & Photos by Brenda Rees
GLASSELL PARK — “I think we had close to 600 shoppers in the first 45 minutes of the store opening,” says Sahsa Itzikman, vice president of marketing and community relations for Goodwill California about the new Goodwill flagship retail store and outlet center that opened to the public this morning.
Indeed, the 450-space parking lot was filled with many cars circling the area waiting for an open spot. Shoppers parked blocks away from the store near the corner of San Fernando Road and Fletcher Drive and hoofed it past the manicured landscapes, the two towering palm trees into the open and airy interior, complete with that “new store smell.”
The 135,000-square-foot store was completely remodeled, according to Itzikman, “down to the bare wall and ripped up floor.”
On the site of the old K-Mart, the new Goodwill facility features the first of its kind Community Enrichment Center, where job seekers can receive career counseling, learn how to build their resumes, develop on-the-job-training and receive skills they need in the marketplace. Getting veterans employed is also a priority, says Itzikman, who also pointed out the large community room that would be available for community non-profits for meetings and gatherings.
In addition to the retail and outlet stores – where merchandise is sold by the pound, with textiles and clothing going $1.49 and hard good selling for 69 cents – there is a donation center onsite where folks can bring goods as well as E-waste. Nationally, Goodwill is the largest recycler in the country, and here locally, Goodwill has diverted 67 million pounds of usable goods from landfills.
Set to open on May 1 is Café G, a training café which will serve light fare. In fact, the whole complex will have an official grand opening on May 1 with a resource fair, workshops, yoga, Zumba and a farmer’s market which debuts in this new location from 11am – 2pm.
“This is unlike any other store that we’ve opened,” says Itzikman. “We are happy to be in this community.”
Judging from the full shopping carts, many community residents are also happy that Goodwill is here, too.
Brenda Rees is a writer and resident of Eagle Rock.