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The Student News Site of Kent State University

The Burr Magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

The Burr Magazine

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Goodwill Industries – Are the rumors true? 

Max Rottersman- Pexels

Over the past few years, you may have heard some rumors about Goodwill – which leaves the question, are they true? 


The company is known for having thrift stores where donated items are sold, donation centers for people to drop items off at and providing opportunities for jobseekers. 


Not all rumors are true though, so being able to tell fact from fiction will get readers the real answers. 


Thrifting’s growing popularity 


As the recognition for the need of a more sustainable fashion industry becomes more popular, many young adults have hopped on the trend of thrifting. 


Generation Z has made it clear that being eco-friendly is important to their shopping experience, as secondhand and thrift stores have recently seen a boost in sales over the past few years. 


Globally, the market for secondhand items is expected to reach $350 billion by the year 2027, as recently stated in a report by online secondhand store thredUP.  


To locals of the Kent area, Goodwill is one of – if not, the most – popular thrift stores in the area. 


The Rumors 


Rumors about Goodwill regarding high pricing, very high salaries and it being a corporation, have been going on for quite a few years now.  


Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland published an article in late 2020 addressing each of these rumors and states how each one is not true.  


One rumor in specific about those who hold leader positions within the company, making extremely high salaries, is a common one to hear. 


Many shoppers do not know that each Goodwill organization is independently owned with its own employees, board of directors and president. 


Director of Public and Donor Relations at Goodwill Akron, JoLene Gordon, wants customers to know this, as it disproves more than just one rumor.  


“Salaries are different from location to location, and it’s all publicly disclosed on a 990 on our website,” Gordon stated. “It’s 100% transparent and there is no corporate entity, we are an affiliate of Goodwill International.” 


With that being said, each Goodwill can only speak for that organization itself because each one has a different owner and leaders. 


The range of different experiences at various locations is apparent, although all are supposed to be following the same values and rules, given that owners vary by location. 


As social media has become more prevalent in society, the spread of news has become faster than ever, whether the reported material is true or not.  


Regarding Goodwill, there have also been questions over the past few years about their pricing and sustainability. 


Gordon wants customers to know that the company does everything they can from a sustainability standpoint. 


“Goodwill was founded on sustainability,” Gordon said. “It is a part of our heritage here.” 


The Akron location has a pass in which all the items are taken through the store, where some end up in an outlet and are sold by the pound to try and keep materials out of landfills. 


Concerning the topic of price, the company tries to be in line with the market without having excessive prices. 


“The donations that come in are sold in our retail stores to fund our mission of helping people prepare for, find and retain employment,” Gordon said. “That money is all invested back into the community.” 


Shoppers at Goodwill 


Goodwill Industries prides itself on creating opportunities for locals and giving back to its community. 


In its 2022 annual report, the company reported almost seven million pounds of material recycled and repurposed at the Goodwill located in Akron alone.  


Many shoppers choose Goodwill due to its affordability, with quite a few locations across Ohio. 


“I usually thrift at Goodwill because they contribute to helping others in the community,” shopper Nichole Delacruz explained. “I love that when I donate my clothes it can be found or given to people that can use it more than I did.” 


Specifically in the Kent area, many customers are young adults and students looking for the more affordable clothing options. 


Many Kent State students go to the Goodwill locations in Ravenna, Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, as these are closest to the university. 


“I like to shop at Goodwill for furniture and décor,” Kent State student and shopper Mia Downing said. “Every time I shop here, I find new pieces for low prices that I can’t find anywhere else.” 


Regarding thrift stores as a whole, a lot of the items are one-of-a-kind, making it nearly impossible to find these items in department stores or online. 


What this means 


Truthfully, the meaning of all of this varies based on the person, and where their opinion stands. 


The values of Goodwill Industries are supposed to be followed by each independently owned organization, but that may not always be the case. 


The company has said that they are here to look out for others and bring each community together. 


Whether it’s Goodwill or a local thrift store, it doesn’t hurt to look up where one is going and see what the company stands for.  


Thrifting, as a whole, is already a step in the right direction for the fashion industry, in terms of sustainability and ethical standing.  


Although many rumors have been put out there, Goodwill Industries states that they have the evidence and facts to disprove them. 

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