Three MERS/Missouri Goodwill Industries, Inc. retail stores that serve the Chesterfield area let savvy shoppers find dynamite deals for low prices while aiding the non-profit agency that offers job training and employment services.
The MERS Goodwill retail stores include those in Chesterfield Valley at the Chesterfield Commons shopping center at 17355 Edison Ave. 636.537.8151; in the Forum shopping center at 11 Forum Shopping Center, at Olive Boulevard and Old Highway 141 314.576.1800; and at Clayton and Baxter roads at 14808 Clayton Road 636.391.1673.
Dave Kutchback has been president/chief executive officer of MERS/Missouri Goodwill Industries, Inc. since June, though he’s been with the organization for 38 years in various capacities including chief of operations. And Mark Kahrs is executive vice president of retail for the firm.
The nonprofit original Missouri Goodwill Industries organization started in St. Louis in 1918, while the MERS/Metropolitan Employment and Rehabilitation Service Agency, which was initially a Jewish employment and vocational service, was established in 1940. They merged in 2001. MERS/Missouri Goodwill Industries, Inc. now annually serves more than 69,000 individuals and operates in 70 plus career centers and 44 retail store sites serving 89 counties in the bi-state area of Missouri and southern Illinois. Revenues from the total 44 retail stores assist with funding MERS Goodwill job training and employment services for all who need them.
“At our stores, shoppers can get clothing, furniture, books, lamps, jewelry, glassware, electronics, sporting goods, toys and more, just like in traditional retail stores,” Kahrs says.
The valley location, of almost 14,000 square feet, opened in 2005. The Woods Mill store – originally at a different site for four or five years, moving to the Forum in 2008 – is about 12,500 square feet. The Baxter and Clayton store opened in about 2008 and contains 10,300 square feet of space.
“You can find even designer items – some high-quality pieces come through the doors,” Kahrs says.
“It’s not unusual to find a certain famous athlete’s family making donations at these stores.”
Kutchback says “those living in Chesterfield have been really great about making donations to our stores, making them a real success for us.”
“They’ve also been great shoppers,” he says.
“Everyone likes to find one-of-a-kind items. It’s a treasure hunt for a good deal, something unique and different. You can even find items with the tags still on. And the quality is outstanding.”
Kahrs says that, in December, the organization tries to remind folks to come in and make donations that can go on their tax returns.
“Also in December, we experience the popular ugly sweater phenomenon,” he says.
“We identify those items in our donations all year long, so we’ll have them around that time of year – a lot of people come in looking for those.”
Kutchback added that shoppers can also find many nice things to decorate their home for the Christmas season fairly economically.
“All our stores generate about $72 million a year – the Chesterfield stores alone generate more than $4.3 million a year between the three of them,” he says.
“All that money benefits the local community. A slogan of ours is “Give Hope, Give Local, Give Goodwill,” and it means that the money we’re raising from those donations is serving our local community, to those served by our organization.”
He praised that there are dedicated shoppers who come back over and over.
“A unique thing about us is that every single day, thousands of items are rolled out on our sales floors,” Kutchback says.
“We have some people who shop at our stores every single day to see what’s new.”
Kahrs says that the three Chesterfield stores combined can boast, for last year, 103,000 carloads of donation drop-offs.
“And that number is consistently growing,” he says.
Store hours for all are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information about MERS Goodwill or to find a Goodwill donation center, call 314.241.3464, visit them on Facebook, or visit MersGoodwill.org.
Stephanie Flynn – Co-Managing Partner