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‘Amazing’: Crossville Residents Embrace New Goodwill Store, Donation Site & Career Center

Crossville area residents turned out in force for the Grand Opening of the community’s new Goodwill retail store, Donation Express Center and Career Solutions Center

Within a few hours of the Sept. 28 opening, Goodwill team members had given away more than 500 free shopping totes. 

With a large crowd assembled for the 8:30 a.m. ceremony, Matthew Bourlakas, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, took the opportunity to describe Goodwill’s mission and how the nonprofit provides free services for people facing barriers to employment, such as a history of incarceration, a disability or a need for higher-level skills.

“There’s a quotation by Muhammad Ali, and he said that life is like a boxing match — that defeat is declared not when you fall, but when you refuse to stand again,” Bourlakas said, explaining that Goodwill helps people to get back up and “compete for a job or maybe put their feet on a pathway to a career.”

After Goodwill Vice President of Donated Goods Leisa Wamsley led the crowd in an enthusiastic cheer to spell out G-O-O-D-W-I-L-L, Cumberland County Chamber President Ethan Hadley and Bourlakas joined the store’s management team to cut a large red ribbon. Then a long line of eager visitors surged into the 14,400 square-foot-facility. 

One was Glenn Rice, a self-proclaimed “Southern Yankee” who moved from New York to the Crossville area four decades ago. He smiled as he approached the front doors. 

“I’ve been wanting a Goodwill here for 20 years,” he said. 

As guests filed in, Goodwill Career Coaches handed out flyers describing the many in-person and virtual services that will be available in the Career Solutions Center located right inside the building’s front doors. 

Shoppers quickly filled all areas of the sales floor. 

Juan Garcia could be found looking at electronics and housewares. Garcia recently moved to Crossville from Jackson, where he regularly shopped at the two Goodwill stores located there. Though a cook by trade, he and his three sons enjoy earning a little extra money by reselling items online that they purchase at Goodwill.  

“My kids told me (Goodwill’s Crossville store) was opening today, so I said, ‘Let’s be the first ones there!’”

His initiative was rewarded. Garcia scored a multi-piece drum kit that he balanced atop his shopping cart as he moved through the busy aisles. 

“It’s only $29.99,” he bragged. 

Dwantia Starks, who won a $50 Goodwill gift card in one of the day’s many drawings, called the new Crossville store “amazing.” The Gulfport, Miss., resident was visiting Middle Tennessee on vacation and enjoying one of her favorite vacation activities: shopping at Goodwill. 

“I shop Goodwill wherever I go,” she said. “I love it because it feels like a treasure hunt. I like finding things everybody doesn’t have.”

The Donation Express Center located on the side of the building was busy as well, with a steady stream of Crossville area residents taking advantage of the facility’s opening to organize their homes. One was Brent Ostrander, 94, who drove to the store with more than 10 boxes of books to donate. He and his wife are moving out of their home to live with his daughter, and he was giving away his beloved personal collection of books. 

“There’s a lot of good ones in there — cookbooks, learning books, biographies, fiction, nonfiction. Oh, shoot!” he said, snapping his fingers. “I forgot a box of woodworking books. Oh well, I’ll come back tomorrow!”

In the back rooms of the store, team members were busy processing donations to put them out on the sales floor. Working alongside them was Alecia Taylor, a Crossville resident who personally​​ benefited from Goodwill’s mission services and is now the store’s manager. Their extra efforts to fill the store with great merchandise on opening day were rewarded. By day’s end, there had been well over 1,000 transactions at the store registers. 

One happy customer was Dorcas Hoover, who left the store clutching an interesting pair of items. She had a large baby doll in one hand and an even larger crossbow in the other. She acknowledged the incongruity of her selections with a laugh. 

“The doll is for my mother, who collects dolls and then gives them to her granddaughters,” she explained. “The crossbow is for my son.”

Crossville Goodwill store manager Alecia Taylor, who first came to Goodwill for help finding a job, cuts the ribbon to open her new store.
A large crowd gathered outside the new Crossville Goodwill store before it opened on Sept. 28, 2022.
Goodwill President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas helps a shopper to bag up her purchases.
Dwantia Starks celebrates with Goodwill Vice President of Donated Goods Leisa Wamsley after winning a drawing for a $50 Goodwill gift card.
Juan Garcia shows off a drum kit he found for $29.99.
Guests at the Grand Opening learned about the many free employment services offered at the facility's Career Solutions Center.
Computers and phones are available in the Goodwill Career Solutions Center for the public to use in taking Goodwill hosted virtual classes or seeking employment opportunities.
Dorcas Hoover of Crossville bought a baby doll for her mother and a crossbow for her son.
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