“We saw growth throughout the years but, then we made a few changes in 2011,” says Jorge Varona, Goodwill’s e-books manager. “Since then, E-Commerce has grown over 348%. We attribute this growth to more people going on-line to shop as well as a very hard working and dedicated staff. ”
E-Commerce encompasses Goodwill’s on-line sales site, ShopGoodwill.com, which sells donated merchandise through an auction-formatted website. The site is made up of several participating Goodwill locations across the country, and features high-end or unique merchandise. E-Commerce also oversees the sale of e-books, which sells donated books on various internet websites, and Goodwill’s Computer Refurbishing program which confidentially purges information from donated computers and then resells them.
The revenue from Goodwill’s Retail & Donation Centers and E-Commerce support Goodwill’s various programs and services which include the Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy, a charter school for students with developmental disabilities, Goodwill Job-Link Centers, which provide individuals with employment assistance and family strengthening tools, and The Goodwill SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute, which helps low to moderate-income aspiring entrepreneurs build and grow their small-business plans.
“It’s wonderful to see a department thriving like E-Commerce,”
An increase in revenue also means job creation. In 2008, there were 6 employees in E-Commerce now; there are 26 including multiple employees with disabilities and former Goodwill Achievers of the Year John Devereaux (1996) and Amy Ofenbeck (2005).
“We are looking forward to 2013,” continues Varona. “We will focus on expanding our online sites where we sell our items, like craigslist and E-bay. We will also focus on expanding our sales of fine jewelry, computers, and electronics.”
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. serves Collier, Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, and Glades counties. Goodwill’s mission is to assist people with disabilities and disadvantages overcome their barriers to employment and independence. For more information about Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, visit http://www.goodwillswfl.org.