Goodwill receives a warm welcome

A cut of a ribbon signified the grand opening of a retail store in Wapakoneta.
The Goodwill Easter Seals of Miami Valley opened its newest Goodwill store at 1240 Bellefontaine St., Wapakoneta, and an official says the business plans to bring more than just a retail store to the community.
“We are more than retail stores,” Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley Marketing and Communication Specialist Kim Bramlage said. “All retail store proceeds support more than 40 programs and services.”
These programs and services build on the
Goodwill Easter Seals mission of empowering people with disabilities and other needs to achieve independence and enhance their lives.
“Not only will this retail store provide donation and shopping opportunities, but the location will also provide training and job opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” Bramlage said.
Some of the programs the Goodwill Easter Seals provides are job coaching, job placement and programs for people with disabilities.
She said they decided to open a Goodwill in Wapakoneta because she thought there was a need for people in the Auglaize County area to benefit from these services and programs.
The idea of bringing a Goodwill to Wapakoneta has been in the works for two years.
“Now that we have a presence here, we can do so much,” Bramlage said. “We didn’t have anything in Auglaize County, and now this provides many opportunities for us.”
This is the 27th store location the Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley has opened, and the company covers a 23-county service area. Surrounding Goodwill locations include Celina, Lima and Sidney.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Bramlage said, “and we are happy to be here.”
Mayor Rodney Metz, who attended the opening day celebrations on Friday, agreed with Bramlage.
“This is something I think the community needed,” Metz said prior to the official ribbon cutting. “This is filling a nitch, and I am looking forward to their service and working with them.”
The Goodwill has actually been opened since the beginning of the month, when they had a “soft opening,” or an opening with no fanfare, but Friday marked their grand opening, and as part of a promotion, people can visit the store and sign their name for the chance to win a free iPad Mini.
The winner will be drawn at the end of the month.
Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dan Graf gave a warm welcome to Goodwill Easter Seals representatives, retail store employees and all in attendance at the grand opening.
“This fills a spot in the plaza to attract people to Wapakoneta,” Graf said, welcoming the business.
The Goodwill store is located across the street from CVS and Walmart, and is in the same plaza as Aldi, Advanced Auto Parts and Cashland.
Goodwill Manager Mike Engle said the community has really accepted the new business.
“We are slowly building it up,” Engle said. “We are getting a lot of good donations. Our mission relies on donations.”
Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley President and CEO Amy Luttrell said Goodwill retail stores are a tool for the company.
“They help us fulfill our mission, which is to help people become independent,” Luttrell said.
“We welcome everyone to come and shop and support our mission.”