Drive-through Goodwill store opens on Grindstone Parkway

Customers wait for the grand opening of the Goodwill store Thursday morning at 1405 Grindstone Pkwy in Columbia. ¦ Brad Racino

Drive-through Laundromats. Drive-through liquor stores. Drive-through Goodwill?

MERS/Goodwill in Columbia celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, equipped with the only full-service drive-through in Missouri for dropping off donations.

Faced with either remodeling its old store or building a new one, the nonprofit organization opted to relocate less than a mile east to 1405 Grindstone Parkway.

Kristy Tourville, Goodwill’s vice president of retail, and Lewis Chartock, president of Goodwill, said they selected the new location because of its high visibility and ease of use.

“In all (of Goodwill’s) research … people say that they donate out of convenience,” Tourville said.

Those who wish to donate items drive under the store’s awning, where they are greeted by Goodwill employees who unload donations, hand out receipts and send donors on their way.

“It’s great, the service – they come out like that!” said Jean Kuntz, as workers unloaded her truck full of goods. Kuntz was one of 80 donors whose castoffs helped stock the shelves with books, clothing and electronics by 5 p.m. on the store’s opening day.

According to the official website, by reselling such items, Goodwill organizations have:

  • Served 1.9 million people through employment and training programs.
  • Provided 20.1 million workforce development services.
  • Helped more than 155,000 people earn jobs.
  • Generated $3.7 billion in revenue.

“It’s not just a place where people can come and buy goods, it’s a place where you can give back to the community while shopping,” said Johnnie Wright, supervisor of the new 15,000-square-foot store. “I’m not just an employee, I’m a customer.”

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The donation drop-off closes 15 minutes before the store’s closing.

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