High-growth area appealing for Goodwill’s second location

Residential development and a proximity to several big-box retail stores made the west side of Columbus the ideal location for a new Goodwill store.

Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana Inc. will open its newest store at 55 Carr Hill Road in Columbus at 7 a.m. Thursday.

“This was a location we couldn’t pass up,” said Cindy Graham, vice president of marketing for Goodwill in central Indiana.

Although it’s unusual to open two Goodwill locations in the same city over a relatively short time frame — the existing store on Creekview Drive opened in 2008 — the constant influx of new residents into Columbus made the Carr Hill Road location desirable, Graham said.

“Residential growth means stuff to donate,” she said.

Additionally, the store’s location off State Road 46 situates it near some of the city’s biggest retailers, which exposes it to more potential buyers, Graham said.

“The big-box stores are our competition,” she said. “They may not think of us as competition, but people have a choice of where they want to shop.”

Graham said she expects plenty of shoppers at Thursday’s grand opening.

The marketing executive predicts about 60 people will be waiting at the door for the 7 a.m. opening, she said, with a steady stream of customers coming in and out until doors close at 9 p.m.

Mayor Kristen Brown will be on-site to greet customers, and employees will hand out shopping bags and give away gift cards.

Six cash registers will be open for checkout, and a new serpentine-style line will cut down on the buildup of people gathering near the registers waiting to purchase their items, Graham said.

Nearly 100,000 clothing items, toys, pieces of furniture and other merchandise is already in stock, Graham said, and 3,000 more items will likely be donated on opening day.

Goodwill doesn’t have specific revenue projections for the new location, Graham said, but instead will look at donations to gauge business success.

“The more we have to offer, the more we sell and support the mission of the organization,” she said.

Graham said that mission is to provide Goodwill employees — many of whom face barriers to finding a good job — with education and other benefits that will put them on a path toward self-sufficiency.

“Many employees work with us for a while and then are able to move on and find a different job, and that’s OK,” Graham said.

Of the 2,100 employees who work under the central Indiana Goodwill umbrella, about two-thirds lack a high school diploma or struggle with a disability, which puts them at a disadvantage for finding jobs, Graham said.

As a result, the organization has opened schools to meet the individual needs of employees and ensure they are adequately educated to reach their goals.

In Indianapolis, 3,000 students are enrolled at either the Goodwill Excel Center — which caters to adult learning — or at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School.

The Carr Hill Road location currently has 40 employees but is still expanding its staff, Graham said.

About the store

New Goodwill location in Columbus

  • 55 Carr Hill Road
  • 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday
  • 15,600 square feet
  • Drive-thru donation drop-off available
  • To request a donation pickup: goodwillpickup.com or 1855-GW-PIK-UP
  • To apply for a job: Visit the kiosk in the store or go to goodwillindy.org
Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.