BLUEFIELD — A Goodwill Industries retail store/donation center is coming to Bluefield.

Kathy McKinley, director of communications for Goodwill Industries of Kanawha Valley in Charleston, said Thursday the store should be open by late spring or early summer.

“We are excited to be heading that way,” she said. “We are looking forward to having a store there.”

The closest Goodwill store with a donation center in West Virginia from Bluefield is in Beckley. Goodwill Industries of Virginia has a store/donation center in Pearisburg and a store is in Richlands.

McKinley said the location of the store is yet to be determined and will dictate how large it will be.

“I am not sure of the size of the store in Bluefield,” she said, adding that it will depend on the location since it will utilize an existing structure and a final decision has not been made on which one. “We have honed in on that.”

But the store will offer what is expected, she said, including a donation center and plenty of retail space.

Jobs will also be available, starting at $11 an hour.

“We don’t yet know how many jobs will be available because that will depend on the size of the store,” she said.

The Bluefield store will also have training programs, working with many people who may need assistance, including veterans, to try to get them back in a place where they are working for a living “in a society they fought for,” she added.

Particular individualized training programs will be announced later and depend on local need.

“Goodwill is a hand up, not a handout,” she added. “Our goal is to provide employment, education and training.”

McKinley said classes can also be offered virtually, and customers can shop online now as well.

Whether it’s in person shopping or online, she said it’s “a little bit like finding treasures.”

Goodwill of Kanawha Valley has been considering expanding to Southern West Virginia for some time, she said, and had initially considered Princeton.

A new CEO, Daniel Owens, came on board recently and started doing his homework.

“He came from Texas and he is an amazing fellow,” she said. Owens dove into learning all the information he could about the area and decided Bluefield “was a good location” and can serve the Virginia side as well.

“We will have a huge hiring event,” she said, offering various jobs.

McKinley said “it’s a very exciting time” to expand, especially coming out of a pandemic and providing resources for communities.

“We want to get to know and assimilate in every community we serve,” she said. “We want to learn what people need. We want to be inclusive.”

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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