As retail shops around the West Valley ponder reopening while following safety guidelines, there may be a model to follow: Goodwill of Northern and Central Arizona.
Gov. Doug Ducey included Goodwill as an “essential business,” allowing Goodwill to do business. Since April 13, Goodwill has reopened 21 stores and four career centers.
Courtney Nelson, Goodwill’s vice president of marketing and communications, was asked about “lessons learned” for doing business during the pandemic.
“Keep your employees and customers safety top of mind and make sure to do a thorough review of all your business operations to ensure you are implementing every safety protocol you can before reopening,” Nelson said.
“The community has been so positive about our reopening,” she added.
“Customers have been very understanding and receptive of our new safety procedures.”
Goodwill of Northern and Central Arizona became the first company to obtain the HealthyVerify Certification. The certification was created by the Rose Law Group with the help of Arizona State University and Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s Hospital in Arizona.
Safety measures at Goodwill stores include plexiglass at all registers, tape marking off 6 feet of distance for cash register lines, and contactless payment options.
Goodwill funds its operations by selling donated items.
Under new pandemic practices, Nelson said, “When someone drops off donations, the donation attendants spray them with a disinfectant spray before they are sorted and put on the sales floor.”
Goodwill employees now have a health check every day, she added. “This includes employees having to answer a few questions like, ‘Have you been around anyone who is sick?’ before they are able to enter the building,” Nelson said.
Goodwill’s reopened stores in the West Valley are located at:
• 6161 W. Bell Road, Glendale.
• 20713 N. 83rd Avenue, Peoria.
• 711 S. Watson Road, Buckeye.
• 15433 W. McDowell Road, Goodyear.
• 390 N. Litchfield Road, Goodyear.
The four Career Centers that have reopened include 515. N. 51st Avenue (at West Van Buren Street) in Phoenix and 6750 W. Peoria Avenue in Peoria.
The Career Center desks and computers are now 6 feet apart. The number of job seekers inside the career center is limited, and sanitizing takes place after each use.
According to Goodwill, reopening the stores and career centers allowed 1,000 employees to return to work.
Ducey announced April 7 that $2 million will be allocated to Goodwill to expand its career support services and put its employees back to work. The money comes from a $50 million COVID-19 relief package that was passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Ducey in March.
“Goodwill is a beacon of hope to countless Arizonans across our state. The work they do not only provides invaluable job and life skills, but also critical resources for families and individuals in need. They are a core part of our communities, and this funding will ensure they can continue to meet the needs of those who rely on them,” Ducey said.
Goodwill’s career service programs are free and include “training for interviews, help with resumes, connecting people to jobs, or other important skill training designed for community members to get ahead in the professional world.”
Online resources include virtual meetings between Goodwill’s career navigators and job seekers.
Goodwill also held its first “virtual hiring event” involving 150 participants and 10 hiring companies.
“We get to see individuals coming in who have perhaps lost hope,” said Denise Coulson, district director of Goodwill Career Services.
“As they build their career path and submit resumes that could lead to the next career, the hope returns to their eyes. It’s so rewarding to see their excitement for what’s coming in the future,” she said.
“We will provide (assistance) to anyone in the community who is in need of a job or anyone who wants better employment,” Nelson said.
“Now, more than ever, people need us, and we want to be there for them.”
For online career services, visit mycareeradvisor.com.
Nelson said Goodwill business is booming for a variety of reasons.
“Our donation centers have seen an uptick and our stores are doing well,” she said.
“We believe many shoppers will return because they love to treasure hunt, but some may visit us in the coming weeks out of necessity, too.
“They may have lost a job and want to shop at a lower price point.”