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Construction crews work Wednesday at the site of the new Goodwill store at the corner of First Street and 19th Avenue in Willmar. The $3 million building will be constructed on a site just a few blocks to the north of Goodwill's current store. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

Construction begins on new Goodwill store in Willmar, Minn.

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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201 http://www.wctrib.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/1/1130/20120913091212goodwillconstruction17.jpg?itok=HJk-y69f
West Central Tribune
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Construction begins on new Goodwill store in Willmar, Minn.
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- Construction began this week on a new 22,600-square-foot Goodwill-Easter Seals retail store at the corner of First Street and 19th Avenue Southwest.

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Willmar 10 Investors, a commercial real estate investment partnership, has owned the corner property since 2007. Willmar 10 will own and lease the building to Goodwill, according to Willmar 10 partner Dion Warne.

The project cost including land and building is close to $3 million, said Warne. The property had been vacant for a number of years until Goodwill approached the investor group with the store proposal. Warne said the project makes sense for Goodwill and the partnership.

"It's going to be exciting to have a new project going on, on that corner,'' he said.

"It'll be an attractive building and landscaping when it's done. We're looking forward to it.''

Estimated opening date is June 1, 2013.

Goodwill has 28 retail locations in Minnesota. The agency has been in Willmar since 1996 and leases about 15,000 square feet at 2424 First St. S.

Lisa Ritter, Goodwill-Easter Seals marketing director in St. Paul, said the move will provide the opportunity to expand Goodwill's local footprint and is part of Goodwill's conversion of its retail stores to the same design, look and shopping experience.

She said Goodwill looks for communities where its retail would be a good fit. Ritter said Goodwill wanted the right location that would assist with a convenient drive-through for dropping off donations.

She said Willmar is one of the final locations being converted to the new design.

"It's something we've been looking to for a long time because it allows us to also ensure that we're meeting the growing needs of a community and allows us to expand space for the folks that do carry out the mission of Goodwill, which is to provide employment training programs,'' she said.

General contractor Fendler Patterson of Savage has built other Goodwill stores in Minnesota and is familiar with Goodwill's needs, according to Ritter. However, 90 percent or more of the subcontractors are local, she said.

Ritter said each Goodwill store offers on-the-job training and skills development for employees while providing quality goods such as new and re-fashioned clothing, jewelry, furniture, electronics, housewares and toys at affordable prices.

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David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150
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