BY BILL WILSON
The Wichita Eagle
Goodwill Industries Easter Seals officials closed Monday on a two-acre tract in Derby for a 15,000-square-foot retail store and training center.
The store, opening in about a year in the Hilltop Plaza Addition at Rock Road and Windmill Road, will offer donated goods on the retail floor, which will double as a vocational training area for people with disabilities and employment barriers.
Emily Compton, Goodwill's president and chief executive, said demographics brought the group to Derby.
She said that while retail possibilities drove the decision, the move also brings Goodwill closer to some of Sedgwick County's 800 people looking for employment services.
"It's a vibrant community," she said. "We're excited about the possibilities of moving to Derby."
The new building, Goodwill's 13th store in the area, will include about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet of retail space, with 5,000 square feet for offices and donation processing.
When open, the center will employ between 20 and 25 people, both full- and part-time, with preference given to people with disabilities and employment barriers, Compton said.
Co-tenants include Wendy's, Applebee's and Tokyo Steakhouse. The site selection and sale was handled by Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate in Wichita.
"It's a great fit for our city," Derby City Manager Kathy Sexton said.
"It's a great location because we've got a population here that will really benefit from their services."
Sexton said the Goodwill facility will fit in nicely with the public transportation system started last year, the Derby Dash.
"We've had historically a strong group of families in Derby who've banded together for recreational activities and social networking for their kids with developmental disabilities," she said. "This is a great opportunity to expand that into transportation to work."
Goodwill officials have not selected an architect and contractor for the project.