Local Goodwill recognized

Terry Lent loves to shop at the Marietta Goodwill retail store on Colegate Drive, always on the lookout for the belt buckles her daughter collects, jewelry, furniture for her home, puzzles and dog items.

“I look for things you can’t buy out in a regular store,” said Lent, 60.

Lent and her husband Paul, 79, have been repeat customers at the store since its opening in 2008.

Rosalee Snyder, 68, of Parkersburg has also shopped there regularly over the past four years, looking for “little things that interest me,” including salt and pepper shakers and pieces to add to her collection of Boyds Bears.

Besides the selection of merchandise, both shoppers are also impressed by the staff.

“They’re all friendly, very nice people,” said Snyder.

“We love the staff,” Lent agreed. “They’re really helpful, and they go out of their way to help you.”

For two years running, the Marietta Goodwill retail store has also been a winner among the 13 Goodwill stores in the company’s southeastern Ohio region.

Recently, the 8,000-square-foot store placed second in the running for the region’s “Store of the Year.”

“We were very excited,” said assistant manager Renae Ross.

In 2011, Marietta Goodwill was “Store of the Year.”

Regional Goodwill representatives told Ross and assistant manager Judi Luke that the family atmosphere among employees at the Marietta store was a big reason for the second-place win.

“We have a group of very hard workers, and I think their hard work paid off,” Ross said.

Luke was in agreement.

“We all work together,” she said.

The store’s appearance was also a winning factor.

“We take pride in our store, in the way we keep it clean and how we have it decorated for different events,” Luke said.

Even though Marietta Goodwill receives “lots of donations,” the store’s 16 full- and part-time employees “try to present the merchandise so it’s sellable,” Ross said.

According to Ross, some customers come in twice a day or linger in the store waiting for new items to be put on display.

“We’re constantly rotating stock out there,” she said. “Every hour we’re filling shelves. A new rack of clothes goes out every hour.”

Luke and Ross said they are both proud of the deals their customers find at Marietta Goodwill.

“(Customers) come in and get things they need or want, and don’t spend a lot of money,” said Ross. “They feel they’re getting a bargain.”

In the new year, Marietta Goodwill will expand operations into a warehouse behind the one they currently rent.

“It’s going to be a major expansion,” Ross said. “We will be selling more repurchased goods, or returned items, from other stores.”

In addition, the store will offer new furniture after the expansion, expected to start in April 2013.