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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Goodwill coming to Annandale

A Goodwill store and training center will occupy the former site of the Room Store in the Annandale Plaza shopping center on John Marr Drive next to Columbia Pike.

Site preparation has already begun, and the store could open “towards the end of this year or very early in 2013,” said Brendan Hurley, senior vice president for marketing and communications at Goodwill of Greater Washington.

The 25,000-plus square foot facility will have a retail store and donation center and will be designed to accommodate a future career training center, said Hurley. The store will sell the usual pre-owned items found in other Goodwill outlets, such as clothing, furniture, housewares, books, music, and electronics.

Goodwill’s mission is to provide free career skills training to people with disabilities and disadvantages, including people who have had difficulties finding and keeping a job.

The career center will provide a variety of job training and supportive services, although the details haven’t been finalized. Other Goodwill career centers offer training in hospitality and unarmed security and protective services, along with career navigation. The type of training will depend on which industry will offer the best opportunity for career growth and development, Hurley said.

“We are moving into Annandale because our research showed opportunity for retail expansion based on a collection of demographic, psychographic, and geographic indicators.” Hurley said. “We believe it is a good area for generating donations and sales.”

What’s somewhat unusual about Annandale is the mix of the retail facilities here. There are several consignment and thrift shops along with boutiques catering to the Korean population with high-end designer clothing (including one next-door to the new Goodwill facility)but there is not much in between.

Goodwill is hosting a job fair to staff the new store next Saturday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at 7031 Columbia Pike. Goodwill plans to hire more than 30 people, including a general manager, assistant retail manager, assistant production manager, sales associates, processor associates, and donation attendant associates. Job opportunities are open to anyone facing a barrier to employment.


  1. We could have had a town center here but of course Fairfax could not get their act together the owner lost the funding and now the owner is putting this crap in instead. Is this for real? What is Annandale turning into? Is this what other readers here want? Speak up!

  2. Gerry Connolly made Fairfax a safe haven for illegals when he ran the County. Gerry's legacy is a thriving Annandale business district featuring Joseph's Coats and the Goodwill Industries. It is no wonder Tessie Wilson demanded, and got all of the Braddock District kids out of Annandale High. I was at the AHS/Lee HS game on Friday, the stands were dramatically empty compared to last year, the AHS band is not even half it's size when compared to last year, and the football team dressed only 40 players. That school has been gutted by Tessie under the cover of over crowding. Gerry and Tessie, they were Annandale's super storm, the perfect pair.

  3. This is definitely not a good sign for Annandale. Pay-Day loans, Goodwill, Josephs Coat, fast food, lack of "neighborhood" schools, suburban work camps etc, all point to an area, if not in decline, at least moving down the status latter.

    Blame your politicians? With re-election rates starting at 66% and going up to "unopposed" it certainly looks like the locals are happy with the situation.

  4. I agree. This is not a good sign. We need new leadership

  5. It is a Goodwill, not the end times. There are thrift stores all over Fairfax County in all kinds of different areas. It has nothing to do with the mythical 'town center' (seriously we're more likely to get a herd of unicorns living in Ossian Hall Park than get a town center in my lifetime). I'm glad someone's moving into the empty space---now we just need a business to move into the Bloom's.

  6. A lot of things about Annandale are wonderful, and the local government has everything to do with this. However, I agree that one area that needs improvement in our town is retail and restaurants. Not to knock Goodwill, but I wish something else was going in there that could cater to more residents.

  7. Wow! How many of you who are so critical of Goodwill have even stepped foot in a Goodwill store in past year, two years, three years?! How many of you are aware that every donation and sale made at Goodwill helps put people back to work? You're complaining about your elected officials, but Goodwill is doing more to help improve our local economy than those very same politicians. Shame on you! Why don't you visit the store, make a few donations and support your community before casting aspersions on one of the few organizations working to improve it.

    1. Haters gotta hate, I guess.

  8. GO TO THE TOWN MEETING HOSTED BY MASON DISTRICT COUNCIL ON JAN. 15 at AUMC. Penny Gross and others will be there.

  9. Goodwill spokesperson Brendan Hurley acknowledges he was a bit surprised by the negative comments on the new store. He blames the negativity on “a lack of understanding.”

    “A lot of people have never been to a Goodwill store. We’re no longer a dirty little thrift store,” Hurley says. “We’ve spent a lot of time and effort changing Goodwill’s reputation. We’ve improved the aesthetics of our retail stores and taken a more aggressive approach to social media.” Goodwill even held a fashion show at the Italian Embassy in September.

    According to Hurley, “Goodwill shoppers are more highly educated than they used to be, and a large percentage have postgraduate degrees. The typical Goodwill shopper earns more than $50,000 a year.” A lot of people need to shop at Goodwill—“we don’t want to discourage that—but a lot of people choose to shop there because they believe in the green benefits” of recycling.

    “Goodwill will help revitalize Annandale,” he said, and by shopping and donating items, people will “help improve the local economy and local environment.”

    There are two Goodwill stores nearby, one on Annandale Road near Route 50 and another on Route 236 in Fairfax.

  10. DL Thurston11/5/12, 2:21 PM

    It is also, and this is perhaps the most important thing, a hell of a lot better than a giant empty space. And that's what I like seeing most of all in Annandale. One dead building is now the Buenos Grill, the old Super Pets is finally getting shifted to a new occupant, and now the old Room Store is getting filled.

    While we might disagree about whether Goodwill is the kind of tenant that's "good for Annandale" (I'm for it) I think we can all agree that the worst thing for Annandale is open store fronts. Would Annandale Town Center be awesome? Unquestionably. But we can't rail against merchants willing to do business in our city because we're waiting for that to happen.

    Now, as someone said above, if only something would move into the Bloom.

  11. The Party Co. is moving into the old Super Pets store, and AnnSandra is expanding into the Party Co. site.

  12. The problem is that perception is reality when it comes to consumers. I once had a person tell me that the only reason they'd come to Annandale is to get Korean BBQ or pick up an illegal day laborer. If people start viewing Annandale as the low-rent portion of Fairfax County, they won't be inclined to ever move here or do much shopping here. Having multiple goodwill and check cashing/cash for your vehicle registration/cash for gold places in such a small area is just bad for our image. High end businesses aren't going to want to move here if they're surrounded by stuff like this. At this point I'm just waiting for the old Bloom to become a Rent-A-Center and the Sunset Grille to become a malt liquor/bum wine emporium.

  13. Interesting comment that the AHS stands were empty - Annon probably should have been actively involved in the school redistricting when all the active families from Wakefield Forest were running for Woodson! Everyone involved could see that the shift would affect the school demographics so that it would be more segregated. But who doesn't want their kid to go to the big shiny new school? You can't complain if you don't get involved when the decisions are being made....

  14. I love Goodwill and everything it stands for. It helps people get rid of unwanted items and offers a place for donations. Without places like Goodwill, endless numbers of items would be unnecessarily ditched in landfills. Those donations are then sorted and sold and a portion of the profits go to helping people find work.

    I don't understand all the negative comments with the tone of "Look what's happening to Annandale. We need new leadership." Explain why the negative view of Goodwill opening up in Annandale? It's fantastic! If it's because you are a snooty snoot and look down at Goodwill and instead want a Crate and Barrel or high end store, then go to the mall and shop there. I welcome Goodwill with open arms.

  15. We can all agree Goodwill is a great place and does wonderful things. However, with Salvation Army and the newly opened Josephs Coat so close by it is a case of too much of the same thing. Yes, I'm glad the empty store will be filled, but Annandale needs some variety. Really, wouldn't it be nice to have a Crate and Barrel there (to cite the previous poster)!?

  16. A Crate and Barrel would be nice at the former Bloom space.

  17. Pleae tell me you are just joshing about the chance of getting Crate and Barrel into the Bloom space. I think the disappointment is not so much about Goodwill, as to what the whole KMart Plaza could have been.
    Annandale commerce fills a niche and a need. We may not like it, but it is what it is.

  18. I hope Goodwill will bring competition into the area. Both Josephs Coat and the thrift by the credit union seem to be trying to sell donated goods for retail or close to retail prices. Joseph's Coat turns away donations; that says to me they are not moving what they've been given, ergo prices are too high. Can you imagine going to a thrift store to donate and being turned away? It looks like we have so much to give in this community we may actually need another store. I too am concerned that main street Annandale looks seedy.