Years ago, a lady minister of environment said at a TV interview, “If you have things around you which you have not used for the past one year, the chances are you have no need of them and I would say that they are all garbage.” Then she said, “Give them all to the needy or sell them at a second-hand store or junk shop.”
It appears that she has a point. When we look around ourselves there are things we have not used not only for the past one year but for many years, some even for a decade or longer.
If you have that kind of a problem, there is one way of solving it.
It is the Goodwill Store. You can give them to the Goodwill Store either for charity or, depending on the items, sell them.
The Goodwill Store collects them, launder and/or mend them, and puts them on their sales counters for the secondhand goods users.
There are a total of 10 Goodwill Stores in Korea including one in Dobong District in Seoul and Songpa District.
What the Goodwill Stores do in Korea is not limited to selling secondhand goods.
They employ mentally and/or intellectually handicapped and retarded people paying them wages, the lowest level of which meets the minimum wage standard set by the government.
The handicapped employees are assigned to the sales counters, the in-house laundry shop, the mending room and various other shops where they also do packing or other type of work given by Korean big companies, including Ottogi.
The Korea Post recently visited the Dobong Goodwill Store in the northeastern part of Seoul for a first-hand coverage, and interviewed Marketing Manager Hong Sei-Won.
According to Hong, the Goodwill Store, in fact, has a history of 112 years first founded by Rev. Edger J. Helms of the Methodist Church in the United States receiving and selling at low prices the goods donated for the immigrants in Boston and other needy people. Then in 1916 was formed the Good Industries of America Inc. During the Great Depression, the Goodwill Stores started helping retarded people, and have thence grown by leaps and bounds.
As of 2011, there are a total of 166 regional organizations and 2400 stores in the United States and Canada have been established in a total of 15 countries of the world. The total amount of sales at these stores amount to US$2.59 billion and it is expected that they will give jobs to a total of 20 million retarded and less privileged people around the world by 2020.
The Goodwill Store in Korea was first introduced by the late Dr. Kang Young-woo and the first Goodwill Store in Korea was opened in Busan.
The Dobong Goodwill Store, according to Hong, opened on Jan. 29, 2013, and has on regular payroll a total of 40 heavily retarded persons as well as 16 regular members.
“We receive various goods donated by people and sell them to the consumers at very low prices, some as low as 10% of their original prices,” said Hong at the interview.
Then he said that the profits thus earned are used in vocational training for the handicapped persons and other less?privileged people as well as in wages for the handicapped people and the regular staff.
According to Hong, the Dobong Goodwill Store sells a total of 65 million won worth of goods a month and the turnover for this year is expected to reach 780 million won, accounting for an increase of 8% compared with the preceding year.
Hong said that the handicapped persons working at his store were very pleased that they earned their own wages and that the motto of his store was “Not Charity but Chance” meaning that the members of the store were no recipients of charity but workers earning the money due to them, which made them feel proud of themselves.
There were all kinds of goods shown on the display racks and shelves, which included clothings, handbags, footwear, foods and various other daily necessities. There also were used furniture items, golf clubs, timepieces, edible oils (donated by food companies), photo albums, umbrellas, wine cellars, tableware, and various other goods that would be interesting to the consumers, especially the economy-minded people.
On the occasion of the opening of the Dobong Goodwill Store, President & CEO Jim Gibbons of Goodwill Industries International, Inc. sent a congratulatory message. Here are excerpts:
On behalf of Goodwill Industries International, Inc. (GII), I wanted to personally congratulate you on the opening of your store. We know how hard you all have worked to get to this point and we also know that this was no ordinary feat. I commend you on your dedication to the mission that unites us all, to empower people through the power of work.
It has been an amazing experience watching Goodwill Industries of Korea evolve into the enterprise it has become thus far. Your enthusiasm to make an impact in your community is truly inspiring and we at GII are eager to see you achieve your vision. We will continue to do everything in our power to support you as you strengthen your mission, business and brand.
The spirit of Goodwill is contagious and our mission is relevant now more than ever. We know that many will be served through the Dobong Store and we look forward to sharing your successes and working together through the challenges.
I regret that I cannot be there with you for this celebration. We send our best wishes to you and hope that it is a joyous time. Thank you for all of your hard work and I look forward to visiting you in the near future.