Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Amazing What a Little Goodwill Can Do

And you went to the mall to shop. Or you drove, and circled for parking, to Clarendon.

Terrence Ruffin

You could have wandered from Buckingham south on Glebe Road and found yourself—just over Arlington Boulevard—at the Goodwill.

The squat, stucco-ed-but-not-quite-in-any-architecture-style building houses "Arlington's Best Vintage/Thrift Shop."

That, according to the 2008 ABBIES (Arlington’s Best Business Awards), the contest dubbed the “people’s choice awards” for businesses in the county. The awards were given in 20 categories at the Oct. 22 Arlington County Board meeting.

Mr. Ruffin has managed the Goodwill retail store at 10 S. Glebe Rd. for about two years. (Click to enlarge the image.)

Terrence Ruffin was very happy that his store won the ABBIE for the best Vintage/Thrift store. He is the manager.

“I think it’s beautiful because it hits both ends of our community,” the end that can afford to shop retro as well as the end that must be thrifty, he said.

It’s the income from the retail store that powers the free training and education programs that Goodwill offers. All of the stock is donated.

Aurora Catilo and her husband Alex come for the books. They are fighting the eventual demise of the printed page—it will all be electronic soon—by picking up classics and recent novels.

Aurora and Alex Catilo and their trunk-load of books. (Click to enlarge the image.)

“We don’t sell these books. We’re trying to save these books,” Mr. Catilo said.

His wife said, “They have the best books” for her children and for the grandchildren she hopes to have.

“I come about every week,” she said, picking up books, and bric-a-brac, and things from other countries. “I think it’s better than going to a department store.”

Gerry Dault and Edna Durand, an elderly pair of friends in floppy berets, swing by the Goodwill shop about once a month when they go on grocery shopping trips “in the suburbs.” They live in the District.

“You have to have time,” Ms. Durand said, but she can always find herself something. She had a small bag in hand Halloween morning.

Mr. Ruffin has spent two years at the store after working in retail management elsewhere, and he said he has fallen in love with it.

It was going to the graduation ceremonies and hearing people say, “I never thought…” that convinced him. They say they never thought they’d get a GED, or job, and yet thanks to the Goodwill, they did, he said. "Goodwill helps."

Related sites…
  • All 20 ABBIES for 2008

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