Goodwill Industries will rebuild in Joplin but no decision has been made as yet on the future of the store opened last year in Carthage in the wake of the Joplin tornado.
Nancy Webster, community relations director with Goodwill Industries Tulsa, said the decision whether to keep both the Carthage and Joplin stores or to consolidate retail operations in Joplin has not yet been made and will be a business decision based in part on whether the group can collect enough stock to keep shelves full in both stores.
“We’ve been so pleased to meet new shoppers and so happy that regular shoppers have driven from Joplin to the new store,” Webster said. “It’s just way too early to make that decision at this point.”
Goodwill Industries will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 11 a.m.
Wednesday at the property at 2012 S. Range Line Road in Joplin, the site of the store that was destroyed in the May 22, 2011 Joplin tornado.
In the weeks after that storm, Goodwill opened a store at 132 W. George Phelps Dr., next to the Carthage Walmart store to replace the Joplin location.
At the time they opened the Carthage store, Goodwill officials said a decision would be made in the future as to whether to rebuild in Joplin and whether the area could support two Goodwill stores.
“It will definitely be a business decision,” Webster said on Wednesday. “The volume of business and volume of donations received in the area will dictate how many stores we can operate. We need to know we can even stock more than one store before we make that decision.”
Webster said that decision will come from Goodwill Industries of Tulsa President David Oliver and Retail Director Rita Gilliam.
Goodwill’s Joplin store was badly damaged in the tornado and had to later be demolished. Three people were in the store when the tornado hit, but all escaped without injury.
Goodwill signed an 18-month lease on space in the shopping center just north of Walmart occupied, for years by Fashion Bug, in October 2011.
According to a written release from the group, Goodwill, along with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, will host the project architect, engineers, builder and other guests and invites Joplin businesses and residents for the groundbreaking.
Goodwill’s Joplin store opened in the spring of 1989 and in 2010 served 93,000 customers.
The group anticipates reopening in Joplin in the spring of 2013.