Plans are set for Goodwill to move from its downtown Walla Walla location to a 3-acre site in College Place next to Home Depot on C Street.
This site was purchased for $845,000 from Whitman Crossings. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2020 and wrap up by March 2021.
Goodwill will not close the downtown Walla Walla location until the College Place location is open, according to an email from Ken Gosney, executive director of Goodwill Industries of the Columbia.
The decision to move was two-fold, he explained.
Goodwill’s downtown Walla Walla location leased 25 parking spaces from the Penrose Hotel, pending construction. Goodwill is no longer able to use these spaces, and it has reduced customer traffic, Gosney said.
“The new store will be 20,000 square feet, 10,000 for processing/warehouse space and 10,000 for retail floor plus an additional 3,800 square feet for the ECC (Employment Connection Center),” according to Gosney.
The College Place location will provide the space needed for a local Employment Connection Center. Currently the closest Goodwill ECC is in the Tri-Cities.
ECC is a free, walk-in, job-search assistance program helping job-seekers create resumes, prepare for interviews and receive access to community resources and information.
The Employment Connection Center also provides access to a computer lab, computer tutorials, skills assessments, and internet job-search services designed to improve job-seeking skills to help you get that job, according to Goodwill’s website.
“We currently have an ECC in Pasco, and last year we served over 4,000 people and placed over 700 people into jobs throughout the community,” Gosney said.
“We are truly excited to expand those services into the Walla Walla/College Place area and hope to see similar results. We will continue our work with employees with disabilities as we always have at the Walla Walla location.”
He said there will be plenty of dedicated customer parking at the College Place site, and the location is near a Valley Transit stop.
This move will increase traffic counts in College Place, which will create more retail opportunities for the city.
“The area will look more marketable to retailers and restaurants,” said Mike Rizzitiello, the city’s administrator.
Goodwill expanded its downtown Walla Walla retail space in 2012 and invested $1 million in the expansion, according to previous reporting in the U-B.