Goodwill Omaha Holds Belated Ribbon-Cutting and Grand Opening for Its Canfield’s Plaza Stores

The event was canceled last year due to COVID-19, but the community is invited to celebrate this year.

OMAHA, Neb., May 12, 2021 — Goodwill Industries, Inc., Serving Eastern Nebraska and Southwest Iowa (Goodwill Omaha), is gearing up for a grand opening event — one that was planned for a year ago but which became one more event “canceled due to COVID-19.” Now, nearing the anniversary of opening the Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center and the GoodBytes computer store at 8457 West Center Road, in Canfield’s Plaza, the stores will get the celebration they deserve. On Friday, May 14, from 8:45 a.m. until 5 p.m., the community can check out Goodwill’s newest locations at a first-anniversary grand opening event.

Around this time last year, many businesses in the Omaha metro area, including Goodwill, were beginning to reopen after temporarily closing due to COVID-19. Most people in the community were relieved to see this, but Janelle Ellis, director of retail operations at Goodwill Omaha, might have felt the waves of relief even more than most.

“I was so nervous that we were putting all this work and money into the stores in Canfield’s Plaza but might not be able to open them on time,” Ellis said.

In December 2019, Goodwill Omaha purchased the building where Canfield’s Sporting Goods resided for 71 years, intending to make a new home for its store at 8310 Spring Street and build out a larger space for its GoodBytes store, which was located at 72nd and F streets.

The Canfield’s Plaza space also houses a training room for Goodwill’s Work Experience program, which helps high school students with disabilities gain exposure to work situations in a supportive environment to prepare them for the transition from an educational setting to the working world.

Construction on the building was underway when Goodwill Omaha temporarily closed all locations on March 23, 2020 due to COVID-19.

“Although the opening of the stores wasn’t delayed, the grand opening celebration we had planned was canceled,” Ellis said. “A large grand opening event could have become crowded, and our leadership team wanted to keep Goodwill employees, program participants and the community safe from the spread of COVID-19. Safety is still our priority, so we’re doing a scaled-down version of our usual grand openings, but with the COVID vaccine widely available, people want to get out of the house, and this is something we can hold outdoors.”

The day will start with a ribbon-cutting at 8:45 a.m., just before the stores open, followed by a live iHeartRadio remote at 11 a.m. hosted by Steve Lundy from the KAT 103.7, raffle drawings every hour, free lunch, and face-painting and balloon animals by Loli Pop dah Clown.

Job seekers will also want to attend the festivities, as Goodwill Omaha is holding a hiring event in the store’s upper level, and representatives from Goodwill’s Employment Solutions program will also be on-site. Employment Solutions offers job training, certification and placement for anyone in the community who’s looking for a job.

“These stores are really beautiful, and we’re excited to be able to invite the community to celebrate them with us, even if it’s a year later,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO. “We want this to be an event that the community and our neighbors in the area enjoy and that gives them a chance to become reacquainted with Goodwill if they aren’t already.”

Goodwill Omaha Grand Opening at Canfield’s Plaza Event Schedule

Friday, May 14, 2021 | 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. Ribbon-cutting
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Goodwill Omaha hiring event, Second Floor
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stores open
10 a.m. First raffle drawing
11 a.m. Raffle drawing
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. iHeart live remote hosted by Steve Lundy, the KAT 103.7
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch served, parking lot (hot dogs, water, chips and cookies)
12 p.m. Raffle drawing
1 p.m. Raffle drawing
2 p.m. Raffle drawing
3 p.m. Raffle drawing
4 p.m. Raffle drawing
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Loli Pop dah Clown, Face painting, candy, and balloon animals
5 p.m. Final raffle drawing

We’re Hiring, and New Employees Could Earn Hiring Bonuses of up to $1,500

Amid service-industry labor shortages, Goodwill has an unusual number of jobs available. 

Jobless claims, which hovered just below 600,000 last week, are the lowest since early 2020, and economists forecast that around 977,500 jobs were added last month, yet businesses in service industries report they’re struggling to fill jobs. That’s why Goodwill  Omaha is unveiling a campaign to encourage job seekers to apply, and new employees hired during the campaign time frame could earn hiring bonuses of up to $1,500.

Goodwill Omaha straddles two industries encountering labor shortages — retail and human services — causing an inordinate number of open positions right now, although the organization’s retail sales are strong. The hiring bonuses will range from $250 for part-time cashier and custodian positions to $750 for full-time retail production associates to $1,500 for full-time project managers in the AbilityOne program.

“Economists are saying there could be several reasons for the labor shortage, including lingering worries about COVID-19 and child care needs,” said Erin Blackledge, director of human resources at Goodwill Omaha. “We want people in the community to know that Goodwill is a great place to work, and we’re willing to offer incentives to encourage them to apply and experience Goodwill’s culture for themselves.”

Goodwill Omaha’s hiring bonuses likely will be available for qualifying employees hired this month, Blackledge said, and could extend beyond that depending on the number of positions filled. “We also want job seekers to know that Goodwill has great benefits packages for both full-time and part-time employees,” she said, “and we’ve permanently waived the 60-day insurance waiting period, so employees can get coverage starting the first of the month following their start date.”

To kick off the hiring push, Blackledge and Goodwill Omaha’s HR team are preparing for a week of hiring events, which will start on May 10. Each event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., although at different locations throughout the Omaha metro. Job seekers will be able to apply and interview for positions on the spot.

“We coordinate and host hiring events every week for our business partners, so we know they’re effective,” said Tobi Mathouser, Goodwill Omaha’s president and CEO. “It seems natural to have them ourselves when we have an unusual number of open positions. Hiring events also might be preferable for people who want to avoid a lengthy hiring process or don’t want to wait several days between the time they apply and the time they’re called for an interview.”

Goodwill Omaha’s hiring events will take place May 10 through 14 at the following locations:

  • Monday, May 10, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Goodwill Omaha Headquarters, 4805 N 72nd Street, Omaha, NE 68134
  • Tuesday, May 11, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Panera Bread, 8650 S 71st Street, Ste A, Omaha, NE 68133
  • Wednesday, May 12, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Scooter’s Coffee, 2211 Capehart Rd, #107, Bellevue, NE 68123
  • Thursday, May 13, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Scooter’s Coffee, 11975 Blondo Street, Omaha, NE 68164
  • Friday, May 14, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Goodwill Retail Store & Donation Center, 8457 W. Center Road, 2nd Floor, Omaha, NE 68124

For more information about Goodwill’s hiring bonuses and events, benefits, and qualifying positions, please visit GoodwillOmaha.org/hiring.