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Goodwill has a new home

November 07, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

The new Horizon Goodwill Industries headquarters north of Hagerstown was on display Thursday, allowing visitors to get an inside look at how the charity's new home will fill the needs of the workers, employers and shoppers who use the nonprofit's services.

"I think it's a great facility. I think it's a good move. They needed some room to spread out," said Rhonda Corbett, a state Social Services worker and one of the approximately 120 people who attended the grand opening Thursday at 14515 Pennsylvania Ave.

Horizon Goodwill operates 12 stores in 17 counties in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. It began moving its headquarters from its location on North Prospect Street on Labor Day, CEO Craig MacLean said Thursday.

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MacLean said the administrative offices still were moving into the new building, and in a few weeks the Hagerstown clothing distribution portion would be fully relocated there.

Officials said the move would open up entry-level jobs and training for youth, developmentally disabled people and workers with troubled histories such as criminal pasts.

Rachel Sizemore, 19, was working at the warehouse Thursday. She said Horizon Goodwill offered her better opportunities than other jobs. She said she had a high school education, but no college education.

"I like my job," Sizemore said. "I just moved to Hagerstown. I needed a job."

She previously worked as a cook, a server and a gas station attendant, but her new job in the clothing distribution department has definite pluses, she said.

"It's calm and it's safe," she said.

MacLean said the new building has double the space of the old building on North Prospect Street to about 78,000 square feet. The overall project cost about $2.3 million, none of which was public money, he said.

MacLean said the new headquarters and warehouse is on one level, while the old building had four. Having the operation on one level will allow Horizon Goodwill to provide more employment opportunities.

MacLean said Horizon Goodwill is looking to partner with Freedom Electronics Recycling, which scraps computers and other types of electronic equipment. He said Horizon Goodwill also is considering branching into day-care services.

"There are all kinds of possibilities that are alive where they wouldn't be before" because of space limitations, he said.

MacLean said Horizon Goodwill will consider selling the old headquarters building on North Prospect Street, but it is more likely the building will be kept to expand services.

Hagerstown City Councilman N. Linn Hendershot praised MacLean's efforts in guiding the project.

"He's got a big vision," Hendershot said.

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