Stewart Hoffman has worked for Goodwill for four years, and in that time he’s learned a few things about the organization.

“It has quite a history,” he said.

Address and phone number: 926 Missouri 7, Blue Springs; 816-229-2782.

About Stewart Hoffman, vice president of marketing and development, and the Blue Springs store: Hoffman has worked for Goodwill for four years, and in that time he’s learned a few things about the organization.

“It has quite a history,” he said. “Its roots stretch back into the 1880s, and Goodwill International has been around about 100 years. So much good has been done in that time.”

The company merged with Helping Hands Institute in the mid-1970s; together they promote the same cause: helping people of all creeds and classes, whether through clothing items, domestic supplies and/or job assistance and domestic survival.

The Blue Springs store opened in early 2009, the result of a growing customer base that, in the past, traveled to Lee’s Summit and Independence for Goodwill services.

“The company felt Blue Springs was a target area,” Hoffman said. “It’s since become a distribution point, a place where items that don’t sell go and are dealt with.”

About eight months ago, the store got a much-needed renovation and uplift.

“We wanted to improve its appearance,” he said. “We wanted to make it brighter, more attractive to people coming in. And there’s more merchandise. Those improvements have sent out a better message about who we are.”

What’s unique about the business: A common misconception about Goodwill stores in general is that the store only sells used and discounted items, but Hoffman says that is not the case.

“What a lot of people know about Goodwill isn’t all there is to tell,” Hoffman said.
The company also provides social service resources, including bus passes for disadvantaged people (which includes those with disabilities) looking for work; grooming products to prepare for social interaction; vouchers for clothing.

Referrals to training are available and the company even provides a job coach in some instances, working with the person after he or she acquires a job.

“That’s one of the most attractive things, that the person stays with the person in need to make sure the job is a good match,” Hoffman said.

Goodwill also refers candidates whose cases require more intensive intervention to other agencies.

If you go and special deals: The Blue Springs store is unique in that it serves as the central processing facility for the Kansas City area. Items that don’t sell are sent there, and often they appear on the shelves – a bonus.

The company makes every effort it can to keep items out of landfills.

For the future, Hoffman said expansion of the Blue Springs store is a possibility, but not in the near future.

The store welcomes all donations, but Hoffman said the company especially needs old computers and electronics. Clothing items, too, which make up the majority of the store’s inventory.

“With the way the economy is, people would do well to go to any Goodwill store,” he said, adding: “It’s not one man’s trash anymore; there are a lot of treasures to find here.”

Store hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m to 6 p.m.