Goodwill of North Georgia hosted a grand reopening of its Griffin store and Donation Center on September 28. The store had been closed since January 13, 2023, when an EF-3 tornado struck it, causing extensive damage to the sales floor.
According to Felicia Upshaw, Griffin store manager, she received several storm messages from the internal alert service. Once it alerted her that a tornado was on the ground, she immediately secured the store and gathered the staff to shelter in place. The building’s roof was completely torn off, and all donations had to be discarded due to mold. Although the building was heavily damaged, she was thankful for the alerts as they quickly prioritized everyone’s safety without injuries.
After the store was destroyed, a comprehensive plan was put in place to rebuild it from scratch. The first step was to relocate the store’s staff to different locations while the rebuilding process was underway. Next, they took a thorough inventory of the damaged merchandise to determine what items could be salvaged and what needed to be discarded.
To aid the recovery process, a trailer was stationed in the parking lot to continue collecting donations. Additionally, a hiring event was organized to recruit new team members who would assist in the rebuilding process and ensure the store’s success once again.
“We were excited to reopen our doors to serve the Griffin community,” said Matthew Stegal, senior director of Donor Goods Retail Stores. “Our guests experienced a newly refreshed and branded location, where we strive to provide an amazing shopping and donor experience.”
The store is now open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. During the grand opening weekend, visitors could enter drawings for Goodwill gift certificates.
The sale of donated goods generates revenue to fund 14 regional career centers, workforce development programs, and the virtual career center, CareerConnector.org.