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Goodwill hopes to open store in Crystal Lake

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2013 11:36 p.m. CDT

CRYSTAL LAKE – Thrifty shoppers soon could have more selections in Crystal Lake if a proposed Goodwill store is approved.

The Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois and Wisconsin Stateline is planning to open a 19,000-square-foot facility at 1016 Central Park Drive in Crystal Lake that will operate as a resale store and donation center.

Sam Schmitz, president of the Goodwill branch, said he plans to bring the proposal in front of the Crystal Lake planning and zoning commission Wednesday in hopes of expanding in a McHenry County market that has been supportive. Goodwill also has stores in McHenry and Huntley.

"McHenry County has been in our territory a long time, and those stores have performed extremely well for us," Schmitz said. "There is a lot of competition in the thrift market, but we're a nonprofit that's been around 100 years."

While plans are still being developed, Schmitz said the store would feature the same products customers find at other Goodwill locations and modern conveniences such as a drive-thru donation center where employees will be on hand to unload vehicles for donors.

He said the store would likely feature community services, such as flu shots for seniors through the county health department and free tax services for residents. Some space in the store also will be available to community organizations for free.

"We're trying to be the best corporate citizen we can be," Schmitz said.

Part of that mission is the "Let's Go To Work" program, which offers job coaching, training and case management for program participants. Schmitz said he hopes to launch the program in Crystal Lake after the success it has had in McHenry and Huntley.

Schmitz said the potential location also would employ a store manager, supervisor and between 30 to 40 part-time workers. A job fair will be held before the store opens, he said.

"We want to hire local people, and there will be plenty of opportunity," he said.

If the planning and zoning commission approves the project Wednesday, the full city council would consider the proposal at its July 2 meeting. A separate public hearing will be held July 16 to approve a $3 million, tax-exempt bond to be issued by the Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority.

Full funding will come from Goodwill and not city or other taxpayer money.

Schmitz said he hopes to open the store in the spring of 2014 if the approval process goes smoothly.

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