Goodwill caters to people of all classes

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 19, 2004

CHESAPEAKE - A professor of English searched diligently for hard-cover books. Three young women raked clothing racks for a certain style.

Another woman, who was driving a Jeep Cherokee, was seeking bed sheets.

The Goodwill Industries of Southern Ohio's store provides pre-owned and new items for the needs of any individual or family.

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"We do have customers with a low-income here, but we get all kinds," store manager Sylvia Javins said.

"We get people on public assistance, but also more middle- and upper-class income people coming in here," Javins said.

In an average week, as many as 300 people visit the store with numerous regulars, Javins said.

"We get all classes. We have our 'regular' customers, middle and high-income customers."

"People come here because a dollar can go further here than it did 15 years ago. With the economy like it is, I think (the store) is a necessity," she said.

Assistant manager Debby Pelfrey agreed.

"We have our regular customers we get all the time and a lot of people are coming here looking for a good deal."

"We get all kinds. … I see highly intelligent people with families to raise coming here. It's expensive to raise a family these days and the dollars have to go further," Javins said.

The store is solely supported on donations from private individuals. New merchandise, including underwear and socks, is available.

Four people work at the store - Javins, Pelfrey and two part-time employees, including a man with cerebral palsey. Two volunteers also provide much-needed help.

According to Javins, the store only provides employment to people who receive public assistance of any type and people referred through the Department of Jobs and Family Services.

"I personally think we are very important to the community because we are in a low-income community," the store manager said.

Javins said the Goodwill store sells large amounts of clothing in a week with a large part of that business geared towards the children’s' clothes. People also like to buy furnishings, books and miscellaneous items.

Michelle Medley of South Point found the perfect pair of in-style, brand name boots her daughter had been asking for.

"They have good deals and the prices for good, quality clothes are right," the middle-class mother said.

The store sells about 750 books in a month. Kevin Coots, a professor of English at Ashland Community College, said he frequently visits Goodwill stores to look for science-fiction, mysteries and classics to buy.

Coots said he regularly browses the Chesapeake store and other Goodwill stores in the Tri-State because the industry supports a good cause.

Goodwill Industries has been in Chesapeake since 1989. The current store is located at 404 Third Ave.