A SAD DAY: GOODWILL STORE FINALLY CLOSES DESPITE THE COMMUNITY’S BEST EFFORTS TO SAVE IT

Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sun, 07/22/2018 - 21:27.



A SAD DAY: GOODWILL STORE FINALLY CLOSES DESPITE THE COMMUNITY’S BEST EFFORTS TO SAVE IT


The Goodwill Store in Marc’s Plaza (13719 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio) shut its doors promptly at 6:00 p.m. on the evening of Saturday, July 21, 2018 for the final time.


Our working class community, with challenging financial resources, loved the store – it offered top quality products at rock-bottom prices – for residents of all ages – from the very young to senior citizens, and people in-between. It was part of our neighborhood fabric – a store that we could walk to and enjoy shopping with the family.


The store closed despite best efforts by the community to save it. (See first composite photograph.)


Many thanks to the 709 Goodwill customers who signed the petition to save the store.


Since June 1, there were nearly 50 demonstrations in front of the store and in the neighborhood for a total of nearly 75 hours which is the equivalent of walking over 200 miles carrying signs in summer weather. (See second and third composite photographs showing the campaign.)

 



201 residents signed the petition at Vinny’s Beverage, 13531 Lorain Avenue, Thanks to John Wynn and Paul Vasko (co-owners) for their efforts.


The remaining 508 signatures were obtained in demonstrations outside the store and in the neighborhood.


A 17-page e-mail (text + photographs) detailing our efforts was sent to Ms. Anne Richards, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries on July 9. Ms. Richards was urged to keep the store open. (See Appendix for copy.)


In her reply, dated July 13, Ms. Richards explained that the decision to close the store at the subject location was based on declining revenues and vandalism. (See Appendix for copy.)


Our community was a stakeholder in the Goodwill store – many residents donated goods to the store – which the store sold, along with donations made from other communities, back to the rest of us..


Unfortunately – Goodwill Management did not engage the community regarding the decision to close the store.


A rally was held on Saturday, July 14 to protest closing of the store. It was attended by 15 Goodwill Store customers including Councilman Brian Kazy of Ward 16. Three local TV stations covered the rally. (See fourth composite photograph). Thanks to Councilman Kazy for arranging the TV coverage and for his attendance. (See link in Appendix for one one of the TV video reports.)



The petitions will be forwarded to the Goodwill CEO with the hope that they will come back to a location in our neighborhood.




APPENDIX


LINK TO VIDEO FROM CLEVELAND TV CHANNEL 19 COVERAGE OF THE JULY 14 RALLY:

http://www.cleveland19.com/clip/14490314/goodwill-closing-victor-williams-pkgmp4





TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHS OF E-MAIL SENT TO ANNE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF GOODWILL INDUSTRIES ON JULY 9, 2018:



Date: July 9, 2018
 
To: Anne Richards, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries
 
Copy to: Mary Moriarty, Vice President of Retail Operations, Goodwill Industries;
Brian Kazy, Cleveland City Councilman, Ward 16;
John Wynn, Vinny’s Beverage, 13531 Lorain Avenue
 
Dear Ms. Richards:
 
Goodwill, Please Don’t Leave:
The West Park community urges you not to close the Goodwill store at 13719 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
The store is a big asset and is used not only by residents who live in the neighborhood and walk or drive to the store – but also by others who live in the surrounding communities and also others who drop by -- having come long distances from outside Ohio – for example -- Nevada, Michigan, Indiana, and New York.


Goodwill, We Luv U:

 

Our working class community loves the store – it offers top quality products at rock-bottom prices – for residents of all ages – from the very young to senior citizens like me, and people in-between.


I am a retired Structural Engineer, a volunteer teacher at a local public school, and a community activist. My late wife and I moved here from New York City in 2001. A lot of the stuff in our house – clothes, furniture, crockery, decorative objects, videos, blankets for our pets, and others items, have come from Goodwill stores. I jokingly tell my friends – “I sometimes feel I am from Goodwill too”.
 
I am a member and a regular visitor to our world-famous Cleveland Museum of Art. I love art objects. At the museum – I can only look at them – at Goodwill – I can touch and feel them.


I don’t have a car – nor a driver’s license – so I walk to the store and bring home most items in my shopping cart.

 

 



I have personally spoken with over 300 users of our Goodwill store – and they are all unanimous in their praise.
 
This includes people of all ages – people in wheel chairs – long-time residents of the neighborhood -- families with children, new immigrants, and others.
 
I have also met parents of children and students I have taught from my school.
 
I have met people who have worked in other Goodwill stores.
 
A few days ago – a gentleman approached me. He said his uncle was the head of Goodwill
Industries in a neighboring county and wanted a picture with me and the signs. I was glad to oblige.
 
I have heard numerous stories from parents who went to their first Goodwill store as a kid and that now they were providing the same experience to their children.
 
I personally know of a family of immigrants who decorated two corner cabinets in their new house with art objects from Goodwill – and show them off with a sense of pride to their guests.


Here is a photograph of one of the cabinets.
 
 


Our Goodwill store adds distinction to our neighborhood and none of our residents wants the store to leave.


Why is this Goodwill Store Closing?
The community was shell shocked when we heard that management had decided to close our Goodwill store some time in July, 2018.
 
After all, no community could be more deserving of this Goodwill store than our comununity – made up of working class families, families with limited disposable income, and retired folks like me and many others.
 
According to the employees – management told them that the Goodwill store, in the present location, was not profitable.
Cleveland City Councilman Brian Kazy (Ward 16), however, was told that the management had decided to move the store from a rental location to one where the store was built and owned by Goodwill.
We are at a loss to understand – why this store is closing – there is always a steady stream of people entering the store –and walking out – with bags in their hands – and in some cases – carts full of stuff.
 
Management has made no attempt to reach out to the community to explain why this Goodwill store is closing.
 
No notices were put up – explaining the reason for the closure.
 
The one flyer announcing the store closing – provides no explanation for the closure – let alone provide a specific date for the closing as shown below:



Demonstrations:
I have been demonstrating in front of the store and in the neighborhood – since June 1.
 
So far, since June 1, – there have been 35 demonstrations for a total of nearly 50 hours.
 
The signs have been seen by hundreds.
 
Either, in demonstrations in front of the store at 13719 Lorain Avenue:



Or, in front of the neighboring store, Darnal Bro., at 13721 Lorain Avenue:

 
Or, in front of Vinny’s Beverage, east of Marc’s Plaza at 13531 Lorain Avenue showing co-store owner, John Wynn, on the left, with his customers:



Or, in the neighborhood:




Or, on June 28 – the day of the full “Strawberry Moon”:







As of July 8 – nearly 500 signatures have been obtained to the petition:
 
Goodwill, Please Don’t Leave, We Luv U.
 
The petitioners are customers who live in the neighborhood, or live in adjoining neighborhoods, adjoining suburbs, or were visiting from distant places like
-- Lancaster (New York), Lafayette (Indiana), and Baldwin (Michigan).
 
Over 300 signatures have been collected in demonstrations outside the Goodwill store:




Or, in the neighborhood:


 

 



Nearly 200 signatures have been collected from customers of Goodwill who have been signing in at Vinny’s Beverage, east of Marc’s Plaza at 13531 Lorain Avenue:




Social Media Postings:
 
News about the campaign to Save Goodwill were posted in the following groups:
 
Facebook Groups: WSS: West Side Story, ABC: All About Cleveland, Ohio, and Friends of Jefferson Park;
 
Nextdoor Westpark – a neighborhood electronic community with over 3,400 members;
 
And on
 
My blog at Realneo Website – Here is the link:
 
http://realneo.us/content/goodwill-please-don%E2%80%99t-leave-we-luv-u-plz-sign-petition
 
The post at the blog has been seen by over 500 visitors.
 
Rally:
 
A rally is being organized. It will be held in front of the store. Local media will be invited.
 
Contacts: Concerned citizens have contacted Goodwill staff – voicing their concerns at the scheduled closing.
 
John Wynn co-owner of Vinny’s Beverage, at 13531 Lorain Avenue, has sent e-mails and left voice messages voicing his concerns as a neighborhood residenr and a store owner.
 
Acknowledgemennt:
 
I will appreciate an acknowledgement via e-mail.
 
Best regards.
 
Satinder P. S. Puri
Retired Structural Engineer
Community Volunteer Teacher at Riverside School
13217 Cooley Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio: 44111-3312
 
Tel: (216) 251-3978
 
 
e-mail: spspuri9 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
 
 
 

 

TEXT OF REPLY VIA E-MAIL RECEIVED FROM ANNE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF GOODWILL INDUSTRIES ON JULY 13, 2018:

Thank you for your email to us regarding the upcoming closure of our Fairwood store location (13719 Lorain Rd). It was only after much analysis and consideration that we came to the decision to close this particular location.

Please know that all current employees of this location have been be offered positions at nearby stores.
Revenue has been steadily declining at this location. And, we have had ongoing issues with vandalism at this particular store. In a time that our Goodwill is focused on growing our reach to the communities we serve, we understand that this appears to be taking a step backward. It is not.
 
Knowing our struggles at this particular location, for more than a year our retail leadership has been seeking a prospective new location in order to relocate our current Fairwood store. Although we have yet to find an ideal location, we have chosen to not renew the current lease and continue this search without Fairwood remaining open.
We will continue to search for ways to expand and grow our service throughout the region. We appreciate your understanding during this transition, and we look forward to sharing news of growth in the future!
Please consider shopping at one of our nearby stores in the future. Here is a link to a complete list of our stores http://www.goodwillgoodskills.org/contact-us/find-a-location.aspx
Anne Richards
President and CEO
Goodwill of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio
(p) 330-445-1000
(c) 330-605-4104
 
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Goodwill, Please Don't leave, We Luv U

 

 

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