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WorkSource Oregon Helps McMinnville Goodwill Get Thrifty

If you think Goodwill Industries operates just another thrift store, think again. Their real Goodwill_teresa_richards_2_191.jpgbusiness is changing lives through employment and vocational services and they like to do it with a "hand up - not a hand out."

There are over 200 Goodwill Industries operations worldwide, and each region operates independently. Their Superstore in McMinnville is one of 37 stores in the Columbia Willamette Region. This region alone transforms over 130 million pounds of  "gently-used" goods into $66 million in sales revenues annually. Ninety-two cents of every dollar going through their check stands is plowed back into employment and vocational services for nearly 12,000 people.
One day, the McMinnville Superstore found itself in need of help - they were suddenly short seven employees and needed to hire qualified staff fast. According to Senior Store Manager Teresa Richards, it might take a month to find them normally.
"If I would have just taken applications here it would have taken me probably a month to find those seven people. As cashiers here, they have to have a pretty clean record. So we were looking for people that had some cashiering experience and they don't necessarily just come to our door. And the same with production - this is a production situation here too, so we need people who can understand that and have a sense of urgency in their work."
Luckily, Goodwill colleague Ina Darnell knew her recruiting services and recommended the WorkSource Oregon Services in available McMinnville. Teresa needed help, but had never thought to use WorkSource Oregon staff before
"I truly appreciated their professionalism through out the entire process. They had all the applications lined up, and gave me 15 to 20 minutes with each person. They gave us a private office so we wouldn't be interrupted. They provided us with anything we needed to get these people interviewed and the people we needed for our positions. I was able to fill those positions very easily - and in one day."
With the help of WorkSource Oregon Employment Department staff, Teresa could now focus her attention on operating the Goodwill Superstore and Donation Center. She says demand is high for "gently used" goods, and that her operation is like any other business.
"We are absolutely a business. We need to have policies and guidelines just like any other business. The fact that it's donated goods or used goods really doesn't enter into it a whole lot. It's just goods that you are selling and presenting very well on the sales floor. Merchandising is something that we've been working on over the last few years and we've done a great job of merchandising. We have new goods to offer people, also. Goodwill is continually improving on their product mix."

"This is a perpetual situation," Teresa explains. "You have to keep those goods coming to the sales floor, so we produce seven days a week to keep goods going out. That's kind of hard for some people to understand, but that's how we operate."
Teresa also understands that people need to pursue personal goals.

"I believe whatever you want to do, you should do. This could be a bouncing board for something like that, or we do have opportunities in management. We are always looking for good management people. It's a very interesting field and the wages are very competitive with conventional retail."
For Teresa, the benefit in using WorkSource Oregon was how they organized the whole recruitment.
"The biggest asset for me was the organization - setting everything up - saving me tons of time. They were very professional. They made sure that all the people waiting for interviews were comfortable and knew what was going on. They kept me informed if someone didn't show up or if someone showed up and wanted to fit in. I was just surprised at how helpful they were throughout the whole process that day. I had no idea that was available - so I will use it as often as I can. It was wonderful."

What would Teresa say to other businesses looking to hire?

"I would say go and use the resources that are available.' I was just surprised about how much time it saved me, and how well it turned out. The quality and caliber of people screened were just what we needed. It was also a great opportunity to inform people about Goodwill and our mission - as well as to educate them to the many opportunities we have to offer in the area of production and retail jobs within our stores. "

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