Big Crowd for Goodwill store opening in south Muncie IN

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - More than 100 people waited Thursday morning for the new south Muncie Goodwill store to open in the shadow of retail giant Walmart.

Marsha Lyons of Cowan came a bit later and said she could not believe the selection of clothes and household goods the store at 1413 E. 29th St. had for sale.

"This is great," said Lyons, who never believed Walmart would come to south Muncie.

Cindy Graham, vice president of marketing for Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, said location was key to putting a second store in Muncie. 

"We always have been in north Muncie," said Graham, talking about the first store in 1976 along old Broadway.

That store moved to Hessler Road off McGalliard in 1996, and Goodwill decided on a second location during a recent building boom in the past few months with six new or relocated stores. Goodwill plans to relocate a store in Greenwood and open a new one in Connersville this spring.

The south Muncie store has 80,000 items under 14,000 square feet of space. Besides its parking lot, there's also the huge Walmart lot south of it.

Graham said an earlier 7 a.m. grand opening time produced great results with hundreds  waiting or showing up before the traditional 9 a.m.-9 p.m. store hours.

Goodwill even had people dropping off electronics, furnishings and other items Thursday morning just hours after the grand opening.

Graham was surprised by the turnout besides the traffic generated around the new shopping hub that also included a retail strip mall all across from Southside High School.

Mayor Dennis Tyler was on hand at the grand opening and pointed to the growth in south Muncie supported by government.

Down the street, the city is building a new roundabout at Madison and Walnut streets next to the Muncie monument there. The Muncie Visitors Bureau also is located near the roundabout and a new Small Engine Warehouse is moving across the street.

The store also has been an economic boom in that 37 new jobs were created and all but one new employee lives in Muncie.

Goodwill also has a Muncie connection in Kent Kramer, Goodwill senior president and chief operating officer. Kramer was a Muncie native who grew up on Wheeling Avenue, went to Central High School, and had a grandfather who ran the old White's Supermarket chain and the Red Brick Antique Store on Main Street.

"I definitely got the retail bug from him," said Kramer who was on hand Thursday. 

Goodwill also promoted giveaways and rewards to their customers on Thursday as crowds remained steady throughout the day.

Go to www.goodwillindy.org for more information about Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana.