Future of Stockbridge Goodwill store uncertain

By Michael Davis

Jean Joyner used to travel all the way from her home in Conyers to shop at the Goodwill store in Stockbridge. She collects children's books for her 12 grandchildren, so the non-profit thrift shop is a favorite stop.

But just because her stop in Stockbridge is gone, doesn't mean she won't go Goodwill-shopping.

“I go to them [Goodwills] all over,” she said. “Price-wise, they fit my purse. Put it like that.”

On a recent afternoon, the 65-year-old retired nurse was at the expanded and renovated Goodwill in Jonesboro picking up books and curtains for her home. “I like the new one, since they've expanded and made it cleaner,” she said.

Since the Stockbridge location was gutted by fire Nov. 3, the stores in Jonesboro and Conyers have absorbed the location's 30 employees, but have not taken up the slack in sales, said Goodwill Industries of North Georgia President Ray Bishop. Sales in those stores, he said, are only keeping up with budget projections.

“Are they making up the difference from the Stockbridge store? The answer to that is no,” Bishop said.

Goodwill Industries relies on the sales at its 15 metro Atlanta stores to generate revenue to run its job training and skills programs. The stores also act as employers for some of Goodwill's trainees.

The Stockbridge store, on Ga. Highway 138 near Interstate 675, was a popular store, even for people from elsewhere like Joyner. Bishop said Goodwill is committed to returning to the area, but has not had discussions with the owner of the shopping complex about the future of the property.

Donations can still be made at the site at a drop-off location.

“We're anxious to get back and be in operations again,” he said. “The donors in the Stockbridge community have been very supportive both before and after the fire and we appreciate that.”