To many, last Thursday's warm weather brought walks, rolled down windows and the enjoyment that comes from being outside on a sunny day, but for Goodwill Industries it was a good day for digging in the dirt.
Goodwill, along with officials from designers RDG Schutte Wilscam Birge, the Kiewit Building Group and Mayor Jim Timmerman, broke ground on the new Gretna Goodwill location on the south side of Highway 31 near Bryan Street.
“We're very excited to become an integral part of the Gretna Community, and this is the starting point,” said Frank McGree, Goodwill president and CEO.
He joked that while the company has performed these groundbreakings throughout the years, they normally involved rain or snow, and so he thanked Mother Nature.
McGree said this will be the 15th free standing Goodwill building, and one of 19 stores throughout the area.
The structure will be 15,500 square feet and will house a retail store, production room, donation center and an employment and training room.
McGree thanked the City of Gretna for its welcome into the community.
“We really appreciate everything about the City of Gretna,” said Mark Brasee, Goodwill board vice chairman.
He said the store will create around 30 jobs within the community and estimates to make $1 million to $2 million in annual sales, which will generate taxes for the city.
However, Brasee said that the location will not just be about sales and will have a focus on employment training.
“It's about the dignity of work,” he said.
He highlighted the work experience program as one of the many employment programs offered by Goodwill.
Brasee said this program helps high school aged students with disabilities learn skills and find dignity in working.
Timmerman said he had done his research on this and other programs offered by Goodwill and that he was excited it will become part of the community.
“It's fabulous, the things you do for the community,” he said to McGree and Brasee.
Goodwill was also presented membership to the Gretna Chamber of Commerce by President Brad Stauffer.
“I know a lot of people are happy to have you here,” Stauffer said.
He said the chamber looks forward to working together with Goodwill to serve and benefit the community..
McGree said that the store will be open by October and that he welcomes and encourages Gretna residents to visit.
“Mostly, I encourage everyone to donate,” he said.