ALBEMARLE — The Albemarle City Council voted 4-1 at its Oct. 2 meeting to approve a special use permit allowing Goodwill Industries to establish a temporary donation center in the city.
The mobile trailer for donations will be situated at the Albemarle Crossing Shopping Center (814 N.C. Highway 24-27 Bypass East), where construction for a permanent Goodwill store is ongoing, with a tentative opening date in February 2024.
The temporary center will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Kevin Robinson, Albemarle Planning and Development Services director, presented Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont’s application to the council. Stephanie Hoffman, a real estate manager for Goodwill, provided detailed information about the mobile trailer and donation process.
“Our staff believes the proposed donation center will not endanger public health and safety. It is in a well-lit, lightly-used area of an existing parking lot, away from the city right-of-way,” Robinson said. “Our staff believes that, based on the intended use, it will have little to no negative impact on nearby properties. Most usage will be during business hours and with an attendant on site.”
Goodwill’s mobile trailer will accept donations of clothing, shoes, books, toys, housewares, and small household electronics. All items not suitable for store use, such as combustible materials, will be properly disposed of through recycling or approved disposal methods.
“We are beyond excited to be coming to Albemarle,” said Hoffman, who added that Goodwill is experienced in hosting mobile donation centers in areas where it plans to open new stores. “We’ve been trying to get a center here for many years. Now, things have come together so we’re very excited that we found the right property. Dusty Mason, the landlord, has been amazing to work with and we’re super excited about contributing to your community and hiring a lot of folks to work in the store.”
Amy Jordan, vice president of business development and facilities for Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, told the council that the store plans to hire an estimated 25 people from Albemarle and surrounding areas.
“When we open any store, it’s an opportunity for us to get into the community,” Jordan said. “By being a little bit ahead of when we can open our doors, it provides us a runway to get acclimated and to start the process of collecting donations to be able to sell in that store. We will be supplementing donations so that there will be donations coming in from other areas.”
Despite the council’s 4-1 approval of Goodwill’s request — with the only dissenting vote from Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Sue Hall — not everyone at the meeting supported the plan.
During a public hearing, Stanly Community Christian Ministry Executive Director Heather Kilde and Board Member Doug Hume expressed concerns that Goodwill’s presence in the area could negatively impact SCCM’s operations.
“We would just like to ask for your continued support of Stanly Community Christian Ministry as this would provide a substantial hit on the donations that we would receive through our community,” Kilde said.
“One of the criteria for this is that it meets a community need and I didn’t see any statement of a need being met,” Hume added.
The council’s permit grant includes a condition that the mobile donation center will be removed after 12 months if the permanent facility has not opened by then.
The Albemarle City Council will hold its next regular meeting at City Hall on Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m.