Tacoma Goodwill aims to expand retail operations, reduce waste

Tacoma Goodwill President and CEO Terry Hayes Tuesday revealed plans to expand its retail operations, implement a bold two-year “zero waste” environmental initiative, and a new strategy for partnering with business to enhance job training as 2013-2014 improvements for Tacoma Goodwill’s 15 county operations.

In her speech before a sold-out room of more than 700 corporate and individual supporters at the organization’s annual “Ready to Work Breakfast,” held this year at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, Hayes cited an initial five-month success with the Proctor District “Blue” Goodwill Boutique store and very strong online sales as reason for opening two more boutiques and doubling the floor space of online operations over the next year. Hayes also revealed a summer opening of “Olympia Blue” and scouting for a third location as part of her morning remarks.

Hayes also announced further refinements to recycling and salvage operations at the end of the donation stream, to glean more revenue from household donations.

“We are launching what we are calling a Zero Waste Initiative that is designed to make sure that we are recycling just about everything that comes into Goodwill that we possibly can,” said Hayes. “So if and when products don’t sell in the stores, or if the product was not of the quality to sell, we have a way of getting that merchandise recycled and repurposed. We’re now doing this in our new outlet store in Kent and at the outlet store in Tacoma that we just last week relocated to Pine Street. Next year, we’ll also be expanding that process to a Thurston County warehouse operation. We are doing all we can to reduce our footprint on the environment, and within 24 months we should be near zero waste from the donation stream.”

Currently, Tacoma Goodwill sits among the top 20 Goodwill organizations across the country in recycling efficiency. With the organization’s new initiative, they plan to be among the top five by the end of 2013 and will shoot for number one in America within two years.

Fred Meyer was named “Business Partner of the Year” for its job training and placement efforts, including identifying a grocery industry need for cake decorators, then partnering to provide new training within Tacoma Goodwill’s Culinary Program. The Walmart Foundation was named “Community Partner of the Year” for partnering with Goodwill to expand job training placement, and support for women and veterans. Also awarded at the breakfast was this year’s Michener Inspirational Award, named for the founder of Tacoma Goodwill, Rev. H.W. Michener. This year’s award goes Patrice Porter, an individual who has persevered through tremendous hardships and has had to completely reinvent herself. The Achiever of the Year Award, given to an individual who has overcome major challenges and has shown great dedication to their job at Goodwill, was presented to Jewel Smith, the receptionist in the Milgard Work Opportunity Center. The Graduate of the Year Award was presented to Mercede Hall, an inspirational young woman who completed a Goodwill job-training program and is now successfully employed in the business community. Hall is a graduate of the Warehouse and Logistics Program.

Eric Greitens, a Navy Seal, Rhodes Scholar, Draper Richard Fellow, founder and CEO of “The Mission Continues” and best-selling author gave the keynote speech. Greitens was recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Proceeds from Tacoma Goodwill’s annual breakfast event go directly to support the Goodwill Scholarship Fund.

More information is available online at tacomagoodwill.org.