Work progresses on new store and career center at Thomas Crossroads
by Sarah Fay Campbell
The Newnan East Goodwill store and career center is set to open June 20 at Thomas Crossroads.
The former Save Rite Grocery Warehouse building, which has been vacant for years, has been a hive of activity as workers have essentially gutted the building, tearing out the last vestiges of a grocery store and turning it into what will become a retail store and career and training center, with several classrooms.
Contractors have also put up a brick facade on the front and sides of the building, to make it compliant with Coweta County’s regulations in the “quality development corridor district.”
A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. on opening day. The store is located at the intersection of Georgia Highways 154 and 34.
“We’re real excited” about the new store, said Mitch Grossman, vice president of operations for Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers.
“It’s amazing how many people have already reached out to us in the community, applauding us for coming into that community, that corner,” because the building has been vacant for so long, Grossman said. “They have been so appreciative, which is great.”
The career center was originally scheduled to open a few months after the retail store, but now both will open on the same day.
The building is massive. “It’s a huge facility with lots of classrooms,” Grossman said.
“We are building that center for growth potential and growth opportunities, because there is so much training and placement and advancement programs for various jobs that we need to do training on,” Grossman said.
“Some of that is what we are working on now but it won’t be ready” for the grand opening.
The sales floor will be around 10,000 square feet, about the same size as the existing store, Newnan West, on Bullsboro Drive in Shenandoah Plaza. There are 16,000 square feet for the career center and other training activities vital to Goodwill’s mission — which is job placement and training.
There are six classrooms, but “we probably will only utilize two to start off with,” Grossman said.
“We envision that all of those classrooms, at one point, will be full,” he said. “We’ll do job training there, we’ll do financial education. The career center will do placement and we will have advancement programs,” he said. There will be the “support to give the skills that someone needs to maintain employment or to become self-sufficient in some way.”
The training center in Columbus has an exact replica of a McDonald’s for training; another center has a replica of a hotel room.
Something similar could be built at the Newnan East Goodwill facility.
“It just really depends on what Newnan needs and what the community comes to us with and says we need that and we want to partner with you,” Grossman said.
Grossman said they have done market research and are confident the Coweta market can support “two high-volume stores.”
There are currently two attended donation centers in Coweta, and when the new store opens, there will even be a covered drive-through donation area.
“It’s going to be really easy,” Grossman said. “You don’t even have to get out of your car,” he said.
“The convenience makes someone want to donate more frequently.”
Grossman said that 25 to 30 people will be hired to staff the new center, including sales personnel, a career center manager and case manager. A job fair will be held for those jobs, and everyone will start working on May 20.