Posted: December 14, 2021 by Shel Zolkewich in Community stories, ACU Community Financial Centre, Assiniboine Credit Union, Bill Dinsdale, Canadian, Canadian Goodwill, Charlotte McTavish, Community Financial Centre, coops, Exchange District, furniture outlet, Manitoba, Princess Street, second hand, small business, social enterprises, The goodwill store, vintage, Winnipeg
Turn waste into wages, junk into jobs and discards into timecards
Manitoba shoppers know that Canadian Goodwill stores are excellent places to find quality previously-owned furniture, clothing and household goods—including some great vintage finds! But creating a retail experience wasn’t the reason the company was founded 90 years ago.
Celebrating 90 years in Manitoba
At the height of the Great Depression in 1931, Canadian Goodwill was founded and aimed to provide jobs for those who needed them most—people who were struggling with physical, developmental, mental, emotional or social challenges in a time when the labour market was at its worst.
Over the organization’s 90 years, Canadian Goodwill has grown considerably, but has always remained steadfast in its commitment to help people find rewarding work.
Today, Canadian Goodwill operates six outlets, employs 70 people and has 10 generous volunteers on the roster. And the stores are excellent places for thrifting!
The Goodwill Store, a five-storey building at 70 Princess Street in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, houses the company’s corporate office, a clothing and furniture outlet, as well as a donation sorting department and workshop warehouse. There are also four additional stores in Winnipeg and one in Ashern.
Creating rewarding work in Manitoba
Job training is a core aspect of the organization’s commitment to rebuild community in three ways: retraining people for new jobs, helping people develop job skills, and recycling used goods.
“The most rewarding part is watching employees who have different abilities find confidence in themselves and reach their goals,” explains Charlotte McTavish, General Manager of Canadian Goodwill. “We hope to grow, employ and help more people with different abilities.”
With that in mind, increased job training will be a top priority in 2022, Charlotte said. Training focuses on appliance repair, upholstery, carpentry and customer service.
For example, their six-to-eight-week training course on how to become a retail clerk covers all aspects of the position, plus includes interview skills training and job search tips. Most clients find work with Canadian Goodwill or a referring partner, which might include Opportunities for Employment (OFE), Connect Employment and New Directions.
Remarkably, Canadian Goodwill has paid out over $12 million in wages since its inception.
For more the past 20 years, ACU has been proud to be a part of this social and retail success story, there to provide a helping hand when they needed it most and to share in the celebrations along the way.
“ACU has been an important part of our business,” Charlotte says. “They have congratulated us during the good times and have helped us through the bad times by encouraging us to move forward.”
According to Charlotte, having a trusted financial partner is critical, especially in those challenging times. “They increased our credit limit when times were hard and helped us find solutions so our accounts didn’t continue to decline. We are very grateful for all their help.”
How ACU’s Community Financial Centre helps
Bill Dinsdale, Senior Community Account Manager at ACU, recognizes that partnering with community-based organizations produces good results for everyone.
“Canadian Goodwill plays an important role in making Winnipeg a better place,” he says, noting their positive impact on the community.
ACU’s Community Financial Centre (CFC) is specifically designed to support organization in their strategic efforts, including small businesses, start-ups, non-proﬁts, co-ops and social enterprises. The team understands the challenges faced by these organizations and offers more than financial expertise and tools.
“CFC was created to work with non-profits such as Canadian Goodwill and help them reach their goals,” Bill elaborates. “Sometimes, that requires problem-solving and a creative approach to financing, so we make every effort to help them succeed.”
By understanding their partner’s history, role in the community and future goals, the CFC can find opportunities for how best to assist their members. Ultimately, it’s about connecting as individuals and building trusted relationships with organizations so that everyone is committed to success.
If you’re a small business, non-profit, co-op or social enterprise, we’re here to help. ACU’s Community Financial Centre can provide advice and strategic guidance to help you access the right financing. Reach out to book an appointment today.
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