FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Cumming Goodwill Store and Donation Center unlocked its doors Wednesday after a month-long closure. The Ga. 9 store is one of 20 locations included in a “measured” reopening of Goodwill of North Georgia’s 65 stores and 55 donation centers. The Cumming location will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the week. 

As a part of the reopening, the Goodwill location has implemented safety standards and means to keep employees and customers safe.

Keith Parker, CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia, said the organization chose to open stores in somewhat less urbanized areas that see smaller crowds, and the Cumming location fit the bill. He added that if the metered opening of stores is successful, more will come back online.

“We are excited about reopening, but we are doing so in a very careful, measured way,” Parker said. “We won’t take any chances in terms of the health of our employees or customers.”

That begins outside the store where Goodwill has drawn up spaces to enforce social distancing.

“It doesn’t help anybody if people are social distancing inside the store if they aren’t doing so outside,” Parker said.

The traffic flow at the Cumming store will be orchestrated to keep people moving in one direction, and employees will limit the number of customers allowed inside at one time. Parker said Goodwill’s regulations on people allowed in the store per square foot are more stringent than those outlined by the state. The number of patrons allowed inside restrooms at one time will also be monitored.

Parker said each store’s materials, floors and backrooms will be mist-sanitized with a product recommended by the CDC, and employees will wear masks, gloves and other protective equipment.

Protective screens have been installed and registers and contactless pay options are available to use.

While the shopping floor will be open, fitting rooms remain closed. In response, Goodwill is permitting customers to return items, “in a reasonable amount of time,” they were not able to try on in stores.

Donations are again being accepted at the Cumming location with Goodwill outlining two ways to drop off items without coming into contact with others.

Drivers can pull up to the donation center and open their trunk to allow a Goodwill employee to retrieve the item(s) and place a receipt in the trunk before closing it. Donations can also be unloaded at the drop-off location where receipts will be available to take. 

With so many at home for weeks due to COVID-19, many have cleaned out their homes. So much so, that Goodwill of North Georgia stopped taking donations April 18.

“When customers come back, they can expect an incredible shopping experience,” Parker said. “We have recently collected more donations than any time in our history.”

Funds from the sale of furniture, clothes and other items will help put people back to work during a time in which unemployment is skyrocketing.

Parker said Goodwill of North Georgia assisted more than 3,000 prospective employees last month in finding jobs at small mom-and-pop stores all the way to giants like Amazon.

“We saw activity on our career center website go through the roof,” Parker said. “We have a soaring unemployment rate, and people really need help.”

Those in Forsyth County and North Fulton can take advantage of Goodwill of North Georgia’s Career Centers and online portal to pursue certificates, training, resume reviews and other services.

“Some people have enormous barriers to employment, such as being in the criminal justice system, or they have not worked for many years, they have a disability or imperfected work records,” Parker said. “We help them all. And you also have others who are super, first-rate employees with no issues, no blemishes on their resume, but through no fault of their own maybe their entire work area has been eliminated. We are hearing more and more about that.”

Parker is urging those in the area to continue to donate and shop as the Cumming Goodwill and others.

“We encourage people to still donate and know it is going to the greater cause to get Georgians the career of their dreams,” he said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.