Goodwill store windsor

A 35,000-square-foot Goodwill Industries facility opens in Windsor on Thursday. (Goodwill Industries)

A massive new Goodwill retail store opens Thursday in Windsor.

The doors to a new, 35,000-square-foot facility at the intersection of McDougall Street and Tecumseh Road open at 9 a.m.

The location will house an 18,000-square-foot retail store - the largest in Essex, Kent and Lambton counties - donation centre and an employment and training centre.

The facility will also employ 35 people. Donna Buis is one of the new hires. She had been unemployed for three years.

"It was really hard and it was really stressful," she said. "Holidays are coming, so you try to do the best that you can."
For two of those three years, she was taking care of her grandmother.

She said when she finally wanted to get back to work, potential employers questioned why she hadn't worked in years.

"They wondered why I hadn't worked and if there was something stopping me from working," she said.

Goodwill Industries made a point of hiring people who had employment barriers.

"Hiring individuals who have a barrier  to employment is truly our mission. Our mission is to change people's lives through the power of work.  And we know it can happen if they are working," Goodwill Industries Essex-Kent-Lambton CEO Kevin Smith said. "We can build your confidence."

This facility's employment and training centre is designed to help those who are having difficulty finding job, land one.

June Muir of the Unemployed Help Centre says giving someone that chance is so important

"If an employer will give them the opportunity, they'll see that they can do the job and that they rock at the job," Muir said.

Kris Jaques spent three years unemployed. He has cerebral palsy.

"Some employers would just look at me in the wheelchair and go ... 'how are we going to use you?' he said. "But Goodwill did not do that. Goodwill looked at it with my people skills. Goodwill looked at me like I was a normal person just because I'm in a wheelchair. They took a chance on me and it's worked out for both parties involved.

"It was a relief to be able to finally get a job and get an employer to take a chance on you."