Goodwill customer offers a solution to Overlea store closure

East York resident Raj Khan has idea for keeping needed store open. Raquel A. Russell/Toronto Observer

Raj Khan has a solution to the problem he sees in the closure of the Goodwill store in East York.

“I would start my own business,” Khan said. “(I’d call it) ‘Betterwill,’ better will than the Goodwill and (that of) the CEO.”

On Jan. 18, Toronto Goodwill CEO Keiko Nakamura released a statement announcing the closures of 16 stores and 10 donation centres due to a “cash flow crisis.” In the online statement she said that a “decrease in donations” affected sales, and was a factor in cash floKw. The closings have put 430 employees out of work.

Raj Khan.

Raj Khan.

Khan, 27, immigrated to Canada over a year ago. He regularly shopped at the recently closed 60 Overlea Blvd. Goodwill store for affordable clothing and toys for his two children.

“This centre … was very helpful for … new immigrants (and) low-income families,” he said.

The Goodwill store closings have other implications than the loss of jobs and affordable dry goods.

Donna Morrison Lindell, an instructor of corporate communications and public relations at Centennial College, questioned the way the closures were handled. She said the corporate announcement posed more questions than it answered.

“They’ve got to resolve this and they’ve got to resolve this with certainty,” Lindell said. “I think the public deserves some straight answers. …What’s the role of the national office? Are they intercepting at all on this?”

The national Goodwill Industries statement on the Toronto Goodwill is that it operates as a separately incorporated organization and is governed by its own board of directors.

“We remain hopeful and are doing all that we can to support this organization,” Goodwill Industries said.

Following the closing announcement Toronto Goodwill said that workers will be paid for work completed; and they will be issued records of employment to help them find employment and receive unemployment insurance payments.

Meanwhile, Goodwill customer Khan said that other nearby thrift stores in East York are not as affordable as the community Goodwill. He voiced his frustration.

“You are making money out of nothing,” Khan said. He said he could clearly see the large bins of donated clothing inside the Overlea location. “There is money in there. … If you need money, sell them at 50 per cent, 20 per cent. It’s a waste.”

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Posted: Jan 26 2016 10:32 am
Filed under: Features News