The new Goodwill Industries store and donation center has opened for business in Oil City’s East End.
The building, formerly home to Thorne’s Market, is owned by Pittsburgh businessman David Brody and partners who have extensive commercial real estate developments in the area.
Thorne’s closed in the fall of 2016 and the building remained vacant until a lease was signed in May between Brody and Goodwill Industries.
The project, one that included both interior and exterior work, was one of the more expensive refurbishment projects in years within the city with an estimated construction cost pegged at $522,000.
Goodwill Industries, a non-profit organization, provides job training, employment placement services and other community-based programs, including selling at a discount donated clothing and household goods.
The new Oil City store covers 17,500 square feet and is divided into a sales floor area and a donation collection and processing center.
Paul Guzik, vice president of retail for Goodwill Industries, said the Oil City location has 19 employees. The center is open seven days a week.
Goodwill Industries had operated a center in Franklin until opting for the larger location in Oil City. Guzik said the bigger facility “enables Goodwill to bring a larger assortment of products to our loyal customers in the area.”
Donations for the Oil City store as well as a Goodwill outlet in Cranberry will be processed in Oil City. A collection area is located at the back of the Oil City building, and donations are accepted daily.
The company reported that the recent grand opening at the Oil City center brought long lines of customers to the store throughout the day.
“Customers expressed positive comments all day about the size and appearance of the store,” said Guzik.
Another part of the building, a 7,000-square-foot section that was not leased to Goodwill, remains available for rent. Last spring, Brody said his company was “in discussion” with potential tenants.
The new Goodwill store marks the first time since the 1960s that a grocery store has not been located at that East End site.
A Loblaw’s store was constructed on the tract in the early 1960s as the city’s East End Redevelopment project wrapped up.