Geri Perrigo and her daughter, Robin LaVallie, waited outside the new 10,000-square-foot Goodwill building on Friday morning as officials welcomed them to Rapid City's newest secondhand store with prayer, speeches and ribbon-cuttings.
But they weren't there for the grand-opening ceremonies.
Like hundreds of other bargain shoppers who poured through the doors at 9 a.m. on opening day, Perrigo and LaVallie were looking for secondhand merchandise at a good price. Store manager Joanie Hustrulid said they came to the right place.
The current sluggish economy is an ideal time to open a Goodwill store in Rapid City, Hustrulid said.
"People are looking for bargains. We want more bang for our dollars, and Goodwill stores are full of quality clothing and housewares," she said.
Less than an hour after they arrived, LaVallie and Perrigo were standing in the check-out line with a shopping cart overflowing with used toys that LaVallie bought for her soon-to-open day care center, Guardian Angels.
Fellow Goodwill shoppers Betty and Ted Garnette drove from their home in Pine Ridge to be among the store's first customers on Friday.
"She made me get up at 6 o'clock in the morning," Ted Garnette said as they filled their shopping cart with a $5 paper shredder, knickknacks for Betty's rooster collection and assorted other items.
"I just really like it," Betty said about the Goodwill shopping experience. A former Iowa resident, she was a regular at Goodwill stores in Bettendorf and Davenport.
"When I moved here, I missed my Goodwill stores. I'm thrilled to be able to shop at one here in Rapid City."
The Rapid City store, located off Haines Avenue at 611 Lindbergh Ave., was a "labor of love" that was three years in the planning, said Paul Kellen, a vice president of development for Goodwill Industries. It is the seventh Goodwill outlet in South Dakota and the 17th in the Sioux City, Iowa, region. It has a staff of 12 employees and was well stocked for Friday's grand opening with items shipped in from headquarters in Sioux City.
From now on, however, the store will "rely totally on community donations from Rapid City," Hustrulid said.
During opening ceremonies under sunny skies, the Rev. Jim Sorum asked for God's blessing on the organization as he celebrated its name.
"It's not hard to pray on a day like today … and under a sign that says goodwill," Sorum said. "What a name - Goodwill!"
Kellen said the store will bring goodwill to Rapid City in more ways than just recycling opportunities and consumer shopping.
"There's a lot more coming for the agencies of Rapid City that will get program support from Goodwill in the future," he said.
Regional Goodwill chief executive officer John Hantla spoke about Goodwill's mission of providing employment for people with disabilities through its goals of "building independence, quality of life and work opportunities" for people with disabilities.
Goodwill International board member Evelyne Villines is an outspoken advocate for people with severe disabilities who has worked with Goodwill Industries for 40 years. Villines, of Des Moines, uses a wheelchair for mobility after contracting polio at age 3. She was in town to help open the new store and to receive an award from Black Hills Workshop for her advocacy work. On Friday, she was just another Goodwill shopper as she perused a selection of plates and glassware from her motorized scooter.
"I think your community is going to find bargains from this Goodwill store they haven't even thought about," Villines said.
Mark Kirkeby, development director for The Salvation Army, which operates a thrift store on St. Patrick Street, was on hand Friday to check out the "competition."
"It's a beautiful store," Kirkeby said. "There's room in Rapid City for it."
Contact Mary Garrigan at 394-8424 or email@example.com
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
Donations: Donations can be made at the store off of Haines Avenue and two other drop-off sites: the Rushmore Building Plaza on West Main Street across from Baken Park, and at Circle S Plaza at Elm Street and Fairmont Boulevard.