Goodwill Industries of South Central Virginia has filed for bankruptcy, but the organization is working on a merger to keep stores open.
The South Boston location is currently operated under Goodwill Industries of South Central Virginia, but if all goes as planned, will eventually be operated by Goodwill Industries of the Valleys.
Goodwill Industries of South Central Virginia filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia, Lynchburg Division, seeking relief under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code on May 31, and Goodwill Industries of the Valleys stepped in to help.
“Roanoke is looking to acquire the South Boston store,” said Woody Van Valkenburgh, interim CEO and president at Goodwill industries of South Central Virginia, which is based in Danville.
Goodwill Industries of the Valleys operates a support center in Roanoke as well as 37 retail stores in 31 counties and 13 cities with nearly 1,000 employees, according to Kelly Sandbridge, vice president of brand strategy and external affairs with Goodwill Industries of the Valleys.
“It’s important to us that Goodwill provides services wherever that may be. There have been struggles in Danville, and we hope to help provide a solution,” said Sandbridge
According to the bankruptcy documents, Goodwill Industries of South Central Virginia, Inc., owes roughly $687,064 to the IRS, $500,438.26 to BB&T in Washington, D.C., for a bank loan, and $9,929.37 to the city of Danville.
Other debt is owed to Penske, LP, Dominion Energy, town of Blackstone, Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina, Fleet Management and First Piedmont Hauling.
But, Valkenburgh is focused on the future.
“Hopefully this reorganization and merger will result in better services,” he added.
He explained the mission of Goodwill is to not only provide employment for those who may face barriers such as those with disabilities, ex offenders and those with limited education, but to provide human services.
Other Goodwill stores cooperate with agencies in their respective area to help provide job training, resume building and work on interview skills, but he said the South Boston location and surrounding areas have struggled with this portion of the mission.
“We look to be a service and a solution to the community,” said Sandbridge who explained their mission is all about “helping people to help themselves.”
Last year, the Goodwill Industries of the Valleys also acquired the Altavista Goodwill, and Sandbridge reported that led to an increase in sales.
“We expect to see the same thing here,” said Sandbridge.
She said customers may see some changes in prices, changes in inventory and a more modern store, but all in all, she expects the merge to be seamless.
“We hope to come in and continue services in Danville and surrounding areas. One day the store may close and the next day open under the operation of Goodwill Industries of the Valleys,” said Sandbridge.
Valkenburgh said, “(Goodwill Industries of the Valleys) is much larger and has more resources… we hope they will continue services here and provide more offerings in quantity and quality.”
He also said he is “99.9% sure the South Boston employees will continue on.”
In addition to Halifax County, Goodwill of South Central Virginia serves Danville and Pittsylvania County, as well the counties of Charlotte, Prince Edward, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Amelia, Brunswick and Nottoway.
The merger is expected to be completed by the end of August.