Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Former Goodwill workers look to restart Ely store

Keith Vandervort
Posted 1/24/19

ELY – A group of Ely residents is hoping to raise $10,000 to establish a replacement for the Ely Goodwill Donation Center and Store that ceased operations here on Saturday.

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Former Goodwill workers look to restart Ely store

Posted

ELY – A group of Ely residents is hoping to raise $10,000 to establish a replacement for the Ely Goodwill Donation Center and Store that ceased operations here on Saturday.

According to information provided to the Timberjay by former Ely Goodwill store manager Monte Martin, contributions can be made at www.gofundme.com for the Internet fundraising effort. Donations are also accepted at the Ely Area Credit Union.

Funds collected will be used for initial start-up costs for what is being called the Ely Drop and Shop Thrift Store, organized by Martin and former store employee Amanda Stevens.

On the GoFundMe.com fundraising site, Martin stated,“Recently a nationally recognized thrift store chain decided to leave the community which caused a void for the products and services provided. Seven people were left without employment because of this. It is our hope to be able to fill these needs by providing a locally- operated thrift store that will provide services lost with profits going back to designated sectors of need in Ely. Your donated funds will be used for the initial business start-up costs.”

After five years of operation in Ely’s downtown, Goodwill announced earlier this month that it was closing some northeastern Minnesota stores in a move to improve efficiency and lower costs. “Many in the community have expressed the need for such a store in the Ely area with the closest remaining Goodwill being in Virginia,” Martin said.

“We are working on a location and have been in contact with the building owner who said he is willing to help our community. That is not our only option for a location but it would be an easy transition.”

As of Wednesday noon, contributors had pledged $885 on the website for the thrift store fundraising effort.

Greg and Heidi Mann of Ely donated and left this comment. “I had actually hoped (and mentioned on Facebook that it would be great if) the current employees of Goodwill in Ely— who know how to run the store better than any of the rest of us— would set up a thrift store of their own to replace the Goodwill that is closing here. It will be a blessing to our entire community, so I hope everyone will pitch in and help make it a reality. I wish I could give more, but the reason I can’t is the same reason I value a low-cost shopping option for our family. I also believe in good stewardship, and reusing when possible, instead of buying new all the time. Good luck, Ely Drop and Shop. Best wishes for success.”

Cheryl Boyes, who directs the local food shelf, added, “Let’s support this effort to bring back a thrift store to Ely. It is a much-needed, valuable resource for everyone. It would keep the circulation of goods and funds within the community.”

Martin said he is working to form a volunteer board to help with organizing the operation. “There are so many people here in Ely who supported the Goodwill store and would like to see a similar facility maintained here,” he said.

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