Lake Norman & Mooresville

Goodwill store to open in summer

Bargain shoppers in Lake Norman will have another option beginning this summer, when Goodwill opens a Huntersville store - its 21st store in the region.

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont decided to open the new location because of demand and demographics in the area, said Barbara Maida-Stolle, vice president of retail for Goodwill.

The organization recently broke ground at the Huntersville site, located at 14420 N. Statesville Road.

The 12,000-square-foot store is expected to open in July or August and bring 20 to 25 permanent jobs in the area.

The new location will be the second Goodwill store in North Mecklenburg. A Cornelius store opened in the late 1990s.

That store saw a 5 percent increase in transactions between 2010 and 2011, said Maida-Stolle.

"That store has always been a great performer, right out the gate," she said.

A Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity ReStore - which also provide discount items to customers and then use the profits for philanthropic causes - are located in Cornelius.

Leaders from all three nonprofit organizations welcomed the new store to the community and said they didn't expect it to affect their business.

"We kind of complement each other," said ReStore manager M.C. Laney. "We actually have Goodwill drop-offs at our stores. Our relationship has really improved over the years."

Laney noted that business is always pretty steady at the Cornelius ReStore. Last month, the store completed 5,000 transactions.

"We usually do pretty good," said Maurice Bailey, an assistant manager at the Salvation Army in Cornelius. "I think everyone gets their fair share of customers."

Holly Cooper, director of marketing and communications for Goodwill, said that one of the reasons she believes the three organizations can co-exist in such a small area is because customers are "mission-driven."

"Given the climate, people have become more generous and tend to have more philanthropic tendencies," she said. "Some people shop because it's affordable, but a lot of people shop and donate to whichever mission is close to their heart."

Goodwill's profits help fund job-training programs as well as job-placement services. Last year, the nonprofit organization helped 16,000 Charlotte-area residents.

Meanwhile, profits from the ReStore in Cornelius help fund home projects for impoverished families.

And the Salvation Army's profits fund a six-month rehabilitation program for men trying to get their lives in order.

"We do our due diligence going into a market," said Maida-Stolle. "We would never go into a place where we would not be able to co-exist."

Goodwill leaders considered everything from traffic patterns to area income when they decided to build the store in Huntersville two years ago, she said.

Typically, the organization tries to place stores where the household income is between $30,000 and $50,000.

Between 2006 and 2010, the median household income for Cornelius was $81,532, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The median household income for Huntersville during that same period was $80,977.

Maida-Stolle said the organization will host a job fair in the next couple of months at the Cornelius location as well as make applications available online to fill those positions.

Goodwill's most recent expansion was in Ballantyne at the end of January. That one-day grand opening broke all previous sales records, said Maida-Stolle.

She added that she expects the Huntersville store to be just as successful.

"Goodwill really has caught on," said Maida-Stolle. "Not only are people trying to stretch their dollars more, but it's really a great place to shop."