Site work begins on West Plains Goodwill

by Matthew O. Stephens

SPOKANE – The excitement was tangible on May 31 when the groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new 60,000 square foot Goodwill facility. The new building is technically addressed in Spokane at the corner of South Deer Heights Road and West Flight Drive but will serve Airway Heights and the entire West Plains as well.

This process has been ongoing for over 18 months according to Barry Baker, Principal for Baker Construction and Development, and now that the ground has thawed, site work has been started by the company.

“We’re very pleased to be here today to break ground on this 60,000 square foot facility,” Baker said to the audience. “We are so excited that Baker Construction could be a part of this.”

This new facility will be beneficial in many facets according to President & CEO, Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest Clark Brekke.

“WoooooHooooo,” Brekke excitedly shouted. “This effort has been due to the hard work of a lot of partners and long time in the making. We are finally getting there.”

Brekke also explained that this will allow the company to move their outlet store to this facility, thus opening storage space in one of the Spokane properties. Senior Associate Vice President, Marketing & Communications Heather Alexander added that it will be a very convenient location for local residents to shop.

“The Airway Heights facility will also provide a more convenient Goodwill shopping and donating experience for the growing population in the West Plains area,” Alexander said. “The closest Goodwill store and donation center is located in downtown Spokane.”

The new building will showcase a retail and outlet store along with warehouse space. There will also be salvage operations, over 10 loading bays, and multiple offices. Officials hope for construction to be complete by next Spring.

Goodwill ground breaking
Goodwill groundbreaking ceremony, photo by Kendra Wiiest

According to Alexander, Goodwill had been looking for a parcel of land in the area for quite a while.

“Goodwill has been looking for property in Airway Heights for several years,” Alexander said. “This property was a great find for Goodwill. We are excited to be part of the West Plains area and the Airway Heights community.”

Public records show the company was able to purchase the six acres of land several months ago for close to $770,000. Construction and supply industry issues have also driven the construction price up as well.

The facility is anticipated to bring an additional 22 full time jobs with full benefit packages, and according to Alexander, that will help the job market in Airway Heights and the West Plains, which is one of Brekke’s main goals. He wants to help the local and regional population of less fortunate individuals get on their feet, which is what Goodwill aims to do according to the CEO.

Heather Alexander echoed those thoughts when she said, “We take the items people don’t want anymore and use that revenue to fund programs that are helping people get training and employment, housing support, and build financial stability. For many people, our stores are a first step that gives them work experience and training, which they can then grow into other jobs at Goodwill, or out in the community.”

Alexander also explained there are environmental benefits to this one of a kind facility as well.

“This new Airway Heights facility will also help our efforts to eliminate waste in our communities. We are working toward a goal to become a Zero Waste agency,” Alexander said. “Over the last four years, Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest has kept more than 94 million pounds of materials out of local landfills through its resale, recycling and salvage operations.”

“That is enough material to fill 6,300 garbage trucks,” she added.

Community partnerships are driving a lot of growth in the West Plains as well, which was pointed out by Mark Losh, CEO of the West Plains Chamber of Commerce.

“We are excited to see these types of partnerships and projects move forward,” Losh said. “Having a proactive company like Goodwill move a facility of this type to the West Plains will be extremely beneficial to the economy. The West Plains Chamber of Commerce loves to be involved in helping businesses connect, build, and grow.”

Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest is a nonprofit organization that serves 23 counties in eastern Washington and north Idaho, whose retail stores are the principal source of funding and support for all of the local Goodwill programs as explained by Alexander.

“We are excited for the opportunity to bring more support to our Goodwill programs with the addition of this new facility,” said Alexander. “Goodwill invests more than 85 cents of every dollar from the sale of goods donated into supporting its programs.”

Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest has been serving the area since 1939, and through continued effort has helped thousands of people reach their goals.

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