Students aid book-sorting as part of Goodwill relocation

       Among the Goodwill divisions moving from Old Colorado City over the next few days is E-Commerce, which allows people to buy from the nonprofit online.

At 2307 W. Colorado, Bill Mitchell and Noemi Lozano of Goodwill display a couple of the 8,000 books in the nonprofit's collection, while behind them volunteer University of Minnesota students alphabetize the books in preparation for Goodwill's relocation to its Garden of the Gods Road site.
Westside Pioneer photo

       E-Commerce, which includes such items as antiques, art, books, movies and clothes, is looking forward to 10 times more space at 1460 Garden of the Gods Road, according to Bradd Hafer, spokesperson for the nonprofit's Colorado Springs operation. The division was occupying 850 square feet in the basement of what had originally been (in the mid-1950s) the Golden Flake Potato Chips factory at 2307 W. Colorado Ave. It is now moving into 8,500 square feet at the nearly new, 101,000-square-foot Garden of the Gods campus.
       “It will be more spacious,” commented Noemi Lozano, who heads up the local Goodwill's online shopping group, as well as its book sales.
       The move is part of an overall relocation through March 18 that will consolidate what has been six sites citywide. Included will be close to 100 employees in administration, sales and operations - as well as a similar number of clients in the agency's work skills program - that had been at Goodwill's long-time headquarters facilities in the 2300 block, according to Hafer.
       Most elements of the donation/processing center at 2307 W. Colorado Ave. will continue to function, and the retail store at 2304 will remain open.
       For E-Commerce, the book aspect will take up a good part of its new space at Garden of the Gods Road. In the West Colorado basement, the space limited the numbers to about 8,000 books. There will be room to double or even triple that at the new location, Lozano said.
       She and fellow worker Bill Mitchell were pleased March 14 to get volunteer help from 39 University of Minnesota students, who were alphabetizing the current books by title and packing them for the move.
       Formerly manager of Goodwill's Circle Drive store, Lozano had been assigned to E-Commerce about three years ago, inheriting a situation in which the books were not sorted. “The students are helping us a lot,” Mitchell said. “All we'll have to do at the new building is put the books on the shelves.”
       Like Lozano, he's looking forward to the greater space at the new building, but he admitted he will “miss it [the basement] a little. It's got character.”
       E-Commerce has been an increasing trend for Goodwill shoppers. When books are donated, each title is checked in a computer program that reveals whether it has significant sales possibilities. If so, it is added to the listings online. Other books are put on the retail store shelves, Lozano said.
       The Minnesota students linked up with Goodwill through a nonprofit program called Students Today, Leaders Forever. The three-hour Goodwill job is one of several service projects lined up for them in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado (others had included graffiti control, a river walk cleanup and a carnival for disabled people) during a one-week bus trip over their spring break.
       “We're not huge partiers,” explained Cade Arries, a pre-med student who is coordinating the Minnesota effort. The collegians paid $450 each for the trip, which in addition to the service projects focuses on helping them with socialization and personal growth, he summarized.

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