As some of you might know, a Goodwill store is coming to Rockport. It will be located in the SeaAire Shopping Center, in the space formally used by Bealls.

The Internet says Goodwill stores are franchises, that are non-profit organizations, and all profits are used to fulfill its mission.

It is noted “thrift shopping at Goodwill supports our mission to provide job opportunities for individuals with disabilities, veterans, and others facing barriers to employment.”

The salary of the Goodwill Industries CEO, according to Form 990, was $598,300, with additional compensation of $118,927.

Of course, having competition in certain fields isn’t bad. I’ve faced competition the entire time I’ve headed this newspaper.

The arrival of a Goodwill store, however, concerns me.

I have no gripe with its mission, but I am very concerned about what affect it will have on our local Castaways Thrift Shop and churches and non-profit organizations (via grants) it supports.

Castaways has served Aransas County residents since 1979. It is located at 211 W. Market, and is about to hand out this year’s grants to non-profit organizations. The ceremony will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13 at the Texas Maritime Museum.

With this round of grants, Castaways will top $5 million in donations to local non-profits.

Castaways’ customers can find - gently used, and sometimes new – anything from A to Z.

New merchandise is put out daily. It is kept fresh, because nothing is left in the store for more than seven weeks.

Five churches (First Presbyterian, First United Methodist, Peace Lutheran, Sacred Heart Catholic, and St. Peters Episcopal) and the community/shop govern Castaways. Each group is comprised solely of volunteers who take turns manning the store and accepting donations.

The store’s purpose is to aid the community by offering modestly priced items for sale, to help with church finances and missions, and to award monetary grants to non-profit organizations of Aransas County.

Each church donates a percentage of its proceeds from sales towards the expenses of running the store. The balance of the churches’ proceeds goes to each one’s financial needs and to missions.

The community/shop uses its proceeds for expenses of running the store, and providing monetary grants to Aransas County 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

Up until the arrival of Goodwill, Castaways is the only nonprofit thrift store in Aransas County, and all proceeds benefit Aransas County.

Volunteers are always needed. Anyone who can spare a few hours each week can stop in and ask for the chairman of the day to find out how they can help.

For more information, call (361) 729-2565 or visit castawaysthriftshop.org.

The whole point of this column is not to knock Goodwill, but to encourage Aransas County residents to continue supporting Castaways in the manner they have since 1979.

It will be a sad day in our history if volunteer-driven Castaways sees its business drop significantly. I don’t see how it and Goodwill can both operate here, and Castaways continue to benefit local non-profits, and the residents and visitors who shop there, at its current level of service and giving.

However, I sure hope it can.

Castaways is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Donations of sellable items are accepted during the same hours on the west (Verne Street) side of the building where a sign is posted. Patrons are urged to drop off donations only during the hours.

Until next week, have a good week!

Mike Probst can be reached at publisher@rockportpilot.com.

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