Skagit County residents will soon have another place for their donating, thrifting and job training needs, as Evergreen Goodwill has announced the 2024 opening of a Sedro-Woolley location.
The nearly 32,000-square-foot facility will offer full-service retail and donation operations, as well as a multipurpose space to expand Goodwill’s location job training and education services. The store will be located off Cascade Highway and Cook Road at 506 Crossroads Square, where a Goodwill attended donation center has operated since July 2022.
Evergreen Goodwill operates 24 stores and 30 donation sites in five Western Washington counties, but has just a single Skagit County store, their Mount Vernon location at 242 East College Way. The Sedro-Woolley opening is welcome news for the community, and will employ around 60 people once it’s fully-staffed.
“We welcome and support Evergreen Goodwill’s presence in our city,” says Julia Johnson, Sedro-Woolley’s mayor. “We’re very pleased they are generating an opportunity for our community, and for those impacted by their mission.”
Skagit County Goodwill Benefits All
It’s easy for most people to see Goodwill as just another thrift store to get rid of stuff they don’t want, or to buy something they need at a reasonable price. But all that thrifting serves a genuine, often life-changing purpose in the communities Evergreen Goodwill serves.
Eileen Aparis, Evergreen Goodwill’s vice president of mission, says about 4,000 students annually are helped by the organization’s Job Training and Education programs.
“It’s a nonprofit thrift store,” she says. “For every donation, and for the items that you purchase, it all goes back to the community in the form of job training and education.”
These programs help students overcome barriers to economic opportunity, and include adult basic education, English and computer skills courses, as well as citizenship test preparation, resume building, and other workforce development.
The classes aren’t just offered in-person, where transportation needs can limit access, but also in hybrid and online settings. Goodwill also has mobile classes via its Digital Equity Bus, which visits locations throughout its five-county service area.
Between 300 and 600 students are served each year at the Mount Vernon location, and Sedro-Woolley will serve as an extension of those Skagit-based offerings, Aparis says.
The organization has already met with community partners in Sedro-Woolley to determine which services will be provided at the new store. Those partners include the mayor’s office, local chamber of commerce and library system, as well as the county’s economic development alliance, Helping Hands Food Bank and other local businesses.
“We’re not about trying to re-create something that has already been done,” Aparis says. “We want to listen and learn about what others are already doing.”
Beyond retail sales funding Goodwill’s greater good, donating stuff you don’t want also helps the organization’s goal of environmental sustainability.
Brent Frerichs, Evergreen Goodwill’s divisional vice president for e-commerce, retail and donation strategies, says the organization kept 66 million pounds of discarded items out of landfills last year across its five-county area.
“We present a very constructive opportunity for people to use instead of landfills, or instead of keeping stuff in their garage or basement for years,” he says.
Why Goodwill is Opening in Sedro-Woolley
So why did the Goodwill choose Sedro-Woolley for a new store? Frerichs says that in looking at current and project community growth rates in this area, Sedro-Woolley was among the top places that proved sensible for expanding their reach.
While an exact opening on the Sedro store isn’t penciled in quite yet, Evergreen Goodwill is excited to become part of the local community and economy – whether it’s helping locals get the skills they need for life-improving jobs and careers, or just helping them finally get rid of the stuff in their garages.
“Evergreen Goodwill is so much more than a thrift store,” says Aparis. “We’re an organization that is focused on serving the community, and we want to be a place of opportunity, potential and growth for Sedro-Woolley.”