Goodwill officials look for replacement site

Blaze destroyed Westminster store

January 16, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The Goodwill Industries retail store destroyed by fire last month will be replaced as soon as a permanent or temporary site can be obtained, officials for the nonprofit organization said.

The five-alarm, middle-of-the-night blaze Dec. 23 destroyed the two-story building in Westminster that housed a retail store, donation center, vocational and support services and two upstairs apartments.

The West Main Street store was the only Goodwill outlet in Carroll County, said Rebecca Kendle, executive assistant and development director for Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley Inc.

Goodwill operates three outlets in Frederick County and had planned to open a second Carroll County retail outlet this year, she said.

Last year, the four outlets accounted for $1.4 million in gross revenue. This year's pre-fire budget projected $1.9 million in revenue, Kendle said.

April W. Jensen, chief executive officer for Goodwill, was in Westminster last week to look at potential replacement sites to lease or purchase, including the old post office building on Main Street and other properties.

"We won't make any decisions until we meet with our insurance adjuster and find out how much replacement-cost money we will have to work with," Jensen said.

She said Goodwill's building committee may decide to rebuild on the site, after construction costs are weighed against leasing or purchasing and renovating another building.

Goodwill pays $18 a year to the Archdiocese of Baltimore toward a lien on the property at 77 W. Main St., she said.

"We will get a legal opinion, but we believe we are free to rebuild on that property," Jensen said.

The Goodwill organization, which has served Carroll and Frederick counties for 30 years, provides employment, vocational rehabilitation, and family and individual support services to people with disabilities and other conditions. Those programs are supported by retail and contract operations, which generate 80 percent of its income, Kendle said.

Replenishing merchandise lost in the fire during a time when donations are generally slow will be difficult, Kendle said.

"We can only trust in the continuing generosity of residents in Carroll and Frederick counties to help replace our inventory," she said.

Monetary donations can be mailed to Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley Inc., 400 E. Church St., Frederick, 21701. Other donations can be brought to that location, or to the Goodwill retail outlets at 224 N. Church St. in Thurmont, or to 5831 Buckeystown Pike in Frederick. Arrangements to have items picked up can be made by calling 301-662-0622.

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