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'Prototype' Goodwill store opens next month in Heidelberg

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Submitted | Joe Kauer
The new Goodwill retail store at 1905 Washington St. in Heidelberg progressed smoothly and remained on schedule after the groundbreaking in late summer. Heidelberg Mayor Ken Lasota grabbed a hard hat and shovel and dug in.

The thrift shop opening in Heidelberg next month is not your grandmother's Goodwill outlet.

The store, on Washington Street, is one of several in the area focused on being more customer friendly with new construction and a bright, open interior, said David Tobiczyk, spokesman for Goodwill Stores of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“We're trying to let people know this is a great place to shop — that this is a place where everyone who enjoys getting a bargain can shop,” he said.

Goodwill has built similar facilities, known as “prototype stores” in Natrona Heights, Robinson and Washington. Six new stores have opened in recent years.

The stores are built to be more donation friendly, with a drive-up door to drop off items.

The Heidelberg location is set to open Feb. 12 with a ribbon-cutting, prizes and giveaways. The store has been accepting donations since last month.

Construction of the 14,500-square-foot facility took about five months, said developer Steve Whittingham of Burns and Scalo.

The lot size for the Heidelberg store is about 1.25 acres. Goodwill prototype lots generally are 2 to 2.5 acres, Whittingham said.

The location was chosen because it may draw more people to donate items, officials said.

“We look for areas where locations will support the store,” Tobiczyk said. “We believe Heidelberg will be a good area for that.”

The store already is an asset to the community, filling what used to be an abandoned lot, borough manager Joe Kauer said.

“The building itself fits into the community very well,” he said. “It's going to employ 20 or 30 people, and I think it's going to be a great asset.”

The building itself is something he hopes other businesses can model.

“They added a lot of special things you wouldn't typically see, like bike racks, trees and special lighting that doesn't interfere with neighboring houses,” he said. “They really went above and beyond.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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