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Goodwill celebrates current renovations, looks to the future

June 28, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

While celebrating the completed renovations of the Horizon Goodwill Industries Inc. corporate headquarters on North Prospect Street Thursday afternoon, the agency continues plans for its next expansion.

"We are in the process of acquiring the former Arnold Graphics building across from the Airport Inn," said Craig MacLean, Goodwill executive director. "There is an agreement in place."

Once that 78,000-square-foot building on U.S. 11 is added to the Goodwill properties, the old four-story Goodwill building across Prospect Street from the current corporate headquarters will be phased out, MacLean said.

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The purchase and renovations for the former Arnold Graphics building will be financed via a loan that will be paid back by a capital fund drive, MacLean said.

"We will be able to lease out some of the space for income too," MacLean said.

For the past 10 years, certain Goodwill functions have been moved into the corporate headquarters/warehouse, which formerly was the Fil-Tec Corp., at 223 N. Prospect St.

MacLean said the $350,000 renovation project there was made possible through the combined help of the City of Hagerstown, the Washington County Board of Commissioners, the State of Maryland, the Developmental Disabilities Administration, and the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, also known as CHIEF.

Now there are new loading docks, parking lot, bay doors, wiring, plumbing, paint and a 4-inch thick concrete floor to replace the old tongue-and-groove flooring that was there before, MacLean said.

"This event is just to say thank you to all who made it happen for our employees," MacLean said. Cold drinks and canapes were on hand for several dozen guests who attended.

Horizon Goodwill Industries Inc. employs 440 people and has work projects in 17 counties in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, said MacLean, who has led the organization for 18 years.

"At the core in each of those counties is a business opportunity like a Goodwill store," MacLean said. Once that nucleus is established, contract sales can get a foothold in that area.

"It's a good model," MacLean said.

MacLean said the need to expand and improve work opportunities for the disabled is illustrated by the results of the 2000 census, which shows that about 20 percent of the U.S. population has some type of disability.

"More than two-thirds of the disabled who are of working age are unemployed or underemployed and that's where we come in," MacLean said. "More and more, we're trying to find what I call high tech/low skill jobs that people can do, often from their homes."

As an example, a new program in Winchester, Va., is furnishing a Florida firm with the communications skills provided by homebound Goodwill clients there, MacLean said.

For information on Horizon Goodwill Industries, call 301-733-7330.

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