Goodwill finds new home in Tallmadge

Krista S. Kano
Akron Beacon Journal

Goodwill Industries will open a new, much smaller Tallmadge store this summer after closing its Midway Plaza location last year. 

More:Goodwill closure adds another vacancy at Midway Plaza

The new South Plaza location will have about 15 employees, and there are plans to open a temporary attended donation center in advance of the opening in early summer.

"We will be directly next to Planet Fitness, which sees a lot of foot traffic, and there's also a Dollar General in that plaza, which is a great adjacent business because we carry a lot of the same customers," Goodwill Retail Operations Vice President Dee Dee Collura said. "We have a very loyal customer base in the Tallmadge area, and we anticipate that they will find us in our new location." 

With the addition of Goodwill, and U-Haul is moving into the former K-Mart, South Plaza is now about 95% occupied, Tallmadge economic development director Matt Springer said. The plaza is owned by Tallmadge Properties LLC. 

"That's good news because it's taking a large plaza that if you rewind just two years ago, there was quite a bit of vacancy," he said. "We're working with the landlord about marketing and hopefully will be moving in additional tenants." 

For 15 years, Goodwill was located in the Midway Plaza, but closed in November due to pandemic-related challenges and increasing vacancies at the strip mall. 

At the time, Collura said closing the Midway location was a "difficult decision" but that "eliminating the fixed cost of a store site will help offset expenses incurred during this challenging year due to COVID-19."

Goodwill's other Summit County locations — including stores in Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Lakemore, Northfield and Twinsburg and the boutique and outlet in Akron — remained open, and Collura said "We absolutely are looking for another location in Tallmadge."

On Tuesday, Collura said that they were still recovering from the financial hardships of the pandemic, but that the new smaller location (9,700 square feet, compared to the 16,335 square feet at Midway) offered some cost savings from lower rent and lower utility bills. 

The new store is similar in size to the Medina and Streetsboro locations. 

Goodwill Akron did receive a $5 million grant from MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, but Collura said that did not factor into the decision to open a new Tallmadge location.

More:Stark Goodwill gets $10 million from MacKenzie Scott

"That was offered to us in December, and we had already been talking to the landlord. We're still working on the plans to use that Scott grant and how that'll look in the community," Collura said. 

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.