Goodwill® Coming to Crockett

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

Above photo: Goodwill Central East Texas CEO Kevin Bradford announces the company is looking to set up operations in the near future in Crockett. 

CROCKETT –  Crockett Lions Club held their weekly lunch meeting Tuesday, May 21 to welcome Goodwill® Central East Texas CEO Kevin Bradford, who announced plans to open a store in Crockett in the near future. 

While the Lions munched on sandwiches and salads at The Moosehead Cafe in downtown Crockett, talk centered on the recent successful rodeo and working to get eyeglasses for local youth. When Bradford began speaking, he told about how his family was poor and his parents were unable to pay for him to get glasses. He said it was the generosity of a local Lions Club who got him his first pair, and he said, “For the first time I noticed there were leaves on trees!”

Bradford explained the mission of Goodwill®, where most of the money is used for their ministry activities, helping the communities they serve. He noted their employees make very competitive wages, along with special benefits like health care and others. They were also good for the environment, Bradford said, recycling more than any other company in the world. 

Bradford took over the Lufkin operation after selling a tech company he had helped start and began working with little to no money in the bank and started building the store’s operations in Lufkin. He noted the group had been able to provide everything from childcare to part-time help to local businesses, with some of the flex programs they offer their employees. 

While many think of Goodwill® as only used clothes, Bradford said the group also buys overstocked items from major retailers and pointed out many of the products we see in big box stores are actually produced through Goodwill®. 

The Lufkin, Diboll and Nacodoches stores became independent in the late 1980’s, meaning decision-making and community projects for the non-profit are all done locally, in this area. Bradford said he was proud they have employed over 300 individuals across their different projects, with an average salary of almost $15 per hour. 

The group takes in donations, of course, but has a rigorous program to make sure only worthy goods are resold in their stores, changing out the merchandise frequently to keep the stock fresh. He also offered local groups the ability to host drop-off locations, offering the local groups a part of the proceeds to help raise money for worthy causes. 

Bradford couldn’t pin down which of the activities would be the first to hit town or when an actual store would open, but it was clear the group is searching for an adequate home in Crockett. While it would be quicker to take over and modify and existing property, Bradford wants to make sure the storefront will be clean and neat, and needs to find a property to fit the bill, before any start date could be announced. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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