Goodwill plans to open a new thrift store in Alexandria in part of an old Thriftway supermarket that has been empty for years.
On Friday, Goodwill — officially Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries Rehabilitation Center Inc. — signed a lease with the former supermarket’s new owner, The Bridge Community Church of Northern Kentucky, to use just-less-than-10,000 square feet of the building. The church, which now meets in a converted warehouse in Wilder, is renovating the remainder of the 45,000-square-foot structure into its new sanctuary and church facility.
Goodwill plans to open the new store in either late June or early July, said George Palmer, director of public relations and marketing. It will be similar in size and concept to the nonprofit’s other thrift stores, where it sells donated clothing and household items at low prices and also picks up and processes donations for sale, he said.
The new store will employ around nine, Palmer said. He didn’t know how long Goodwill had been looking for a location in the area.
It will be the 17th Goodwill store in the Tri-State, Palmer said. Goodwill plans to open its 16th Tri-State store, in West Chester Township, on March 17. Goodwill also plans to open a store in Oxford, Ohio, sometime this year, he said, but an opening date hasn’t been set.
The Alexandria store will be the first Goodwill in southern Campbell County, but Goodwill has three other stores in Northern Kentucky: in Florence, Independence and Bellevue.
“There is a lot of interest in Northern Kentucky for what we do,” Palmer said.
The Thriftway supermarket, at 7850 Alexandria Pike, opened in the mid-’90s, Alexandria Mayor Bill Rachford said. The Thriftway chain’s last owner, Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., pulled out of Greater Cincinnati in 2004. The store has been empty for close to a decade, Rachford said, and been used only sporadically for things such as flea markets and for the town’s Christmas in Alexandria celebration.
He is delighted that the building will be occupied again, he said, because it was becoming something of an eyesore. “I don’t see why Goodwill would not be good for the city,” he added.
Goodwill’s mission is to provide vocational training and employment to those with disabilities or with socio-economic barriers to employment. According to its most recent filing with the Internal Revenue Service, Goodwill served 3,424 people in 2014 and put 913 into “competitive employment.” It also recycled more than 45 million pounds of donated goods and sold them for a total of $19 million in revenue.
Goodwill finished 2014 with $3.2 million in revenue less expenses and with $45.5 million in net assets.
Bo Weaver, pastor of The Bridge, said he has no problem with having Goodwill as a tenant, but that the church agreed to lease the space mainly because its bank wanted it as a condition for refinancing the loan the church took out to buy and remodel the property.
“The bank liked the idea of that steady (rental) income,” he said, and also of having multiple uses for the building.
He’s concerned that, if the church keeps growing as it has, it might regret not having that extra 10,000 square feet for expansion. But the lease is for six years with options to renew for five years, he said, which means the church will “be fine, space-wise, for the foreseeable future.”
Goodwill provides clothing for people who can’t pay top dollar, he said, and that’s something that benefits the community. “More and more, you find Goodwill is going a lot more mainstream in terms of clientele … They are everywhere, in very nice locations these days.”