DAWSONVILLE — Judging from the line waiting for the doors to open earlier this month and the steady customer flow since then, Dawson County residents have welcomed the opening of a new Goodwill store on Ga. 400.
But with the business comes not only savings, but job opportunities.
“Our mission is to put people to work,” said James Caponigro, vice president of marketing for Goodwill of North Georgia. “Any money that we get from sales of these donations all help people in this community go to work. We’ve put over 14,000 people to work last year in north Georgia.”
According to Caponigro, the Dawsonville store created 40 jobs, with 29 of the new hires serving as sales associates.
“The call for workers was decent, but not great here,” he said. “The hard part of filling these stores with workers is public transportation.”
While the response from job-seekers may have been somewhat low, Goodwill management said those hired wre more than ready when the store opened July 17.
“We call our sales team ‘the Mighty 29,’” said Herb Miller, personnel trainer. “They are magnificent. They never give up and do whatever we ask them to do. They are amazing.”
With a combination of strong employees and a giving community, Caponigro said that Dawsonville is a strong location for Goodwill.
“Our donor base is very strong here,” he said. “All the donations here came from the local community.”
And it’s from those donations that Goodwill is able to keep providing jobs.
“The proceeds from our stores are used for job assistance, placement and training programs,” Caponigro said. “We’ve got nine career centers around north Georgia … if you or I or anyone wanted help to find a job, they can go into our career centers and we sponsor programs to help you get to work.”
The “secret sauce” of the operation is open communication with businesses in the area, Caponigro said.
“We communicate with over 4,000 employers in this region and we know what they are hiring for,” he said. “We train those people for those jobs and put those people into those jobs in the community. We are one of the largest job placement companies in the state of Georgia.”
The Dawsonville store, located at 66 South 400 Center Lane, is Goodwill of North Georgia’s 48th.
“We have 45 counties that we cover in north Georgia,” Caponigro said.
We noticed that a presence was needed here and there were a lot of people that need work and good values, so we decided to come here.”
The local site is the first of six stores and career training centers the organization is slated to open this fiscal year.
“I’m excited about this being open. It’s closer to home,” said Dawsonville resident Christy Kimbral, who was shopping with her young daughter. “They’ve got all kinds of things here, like clothes for the kids, and — something we both love — books.”