Business & Real Estate

Goodwill opens store at former Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op

Kyle Hebbron of Citrus Heights fills a basket with stuffed animals while shopping at the Goodwill during their Grand Opening on Alhambra Blvd. in the former Sacramento Food Co-Op building.
Kyle Hebbron of Citrus Heights fills a basket with stuffed animals while shopping at the Goodwill during their Grand Opening on Alhambra Blvd. in the former Sacramento Food Co-Op building.

Peering from behind a pair of black bedazzled eye glasses, Shirley Salazar scanned the row of heavy sweaters in front of her, keeping an eye out for her next thrift-store find.

It’s a routine that she repeats three to four times every month, carrying on a tradition passed on to her by her grandmother when she was young, she says. On Wednesday morning, her shopping cart was filled with warm sweaters and a white and teal-colored masquerade mask that will likely join the collection she keeps in her downtown Sacramento home.

“She let me pick out dolls,” Salazar said of her grandmother while holding up the ceramic mask.“I find that I get good, clean things that I wear daily.”

Salazar was among the first customers Wednesday at the grand opening of Sacramento’s new Goodwill store, located in the former Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op building on Alhambra Boulevard. It’s the 30th retail location for the nonprofit’s Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada chapter, said spokeswoman Karen McClaflin.

The new midtown Sacramento store is smaller than a typical Goodwill store, said Richard Abrusci, the local chapter’s chief operating officer. Another grand opening is scheduled for an Orangevale store on Jan. 10.

“We put stores in communities where we can be of help and a benefit back to the community,” Abrusci said. “We really have a strategy for every location to make sure it’s going to be supported and wanted.”

The other 29 Goodwill stores are scattered across the region, spanning from Redding to Elk Grove. An additional 92 Donation Xpress locations allow community members to drop off used goods they no longer need, McClaflin said.

The new Sacramento location has four changing rooms, two all-gender bathrooms and rows of clothing and home appliances. Abrusci says 60 employees, ranging from cashiers to store managers, will work at the store. Operating hours will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Goodwill has expanded rapidly since the recession, when it gobbled up empty retail space all over the region for its Donation Xpress locations. This rapid growth has not been entirely smooth, however. Goodwill was hit with more than $100,000 in citations by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal-OSHA, the state’s workplace safety agency.

The citations stemmed from the gruesome on-the-job death of 26-year-old Abraham Nicholas Garza, whose head was crushed between a heavy bin and a compactor at the store’s Franklin Boulevard location.

A former employee, who was present during the accident, says he warned the nonprofit of unsafe working conditions both verbally and in writing prior to Garza’s Sept. 30 death.

Goodwill is appealing the most serious violations issued by the state agency, which found that the Franklin Boulevard location did not develop safety procedures to prevent employees from being harmed.

A pre-hearing conference, overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board, is scheduled for Feb. 20 to see if Cal-OSHA and Goodwill can settle the case, said Frank Polizzi, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Industrial Relations.

“Overall, we have a strong safety program, we’ve documented that with OSHA and we’ve provided information to them.” Abrusci said Wednesday. “The findings are just not accurate.”

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets