Goodwill is opening a large new location in North Beach on Friday, which will be home to its administrative offices as well as a store and donation drop-off. According to San Francisco Business Times, the organization paid $16 million for the 35,000-square-foot office building on the corner of Bay and Powell streets.
295 Bay St. had a vibrant history before it was converted to offices—it was first home to the North Point Theater, which was opened in 1967 (coincidentally the Summer of Love). During its 30-year reign the theater showed such classics as The Exorcist, Superman, and Alien. It shuttered in 1997.
Goodwill’s last office location was in SoMa at Mission and Van Ness, which it sold to Related California for $65 million.
This is the 11th Goodwill location in San Francisco, and despite the store’s popularity, it’s not without controversy. Goodwill claims to help people find employment, contributing to breaking the cycle of poverty. Clothes and home goods are resold at low prices, and the money is made to fund job training programs.
But news broke in 2012 that Goodwill had been severely underpaying its disabled employees—often well below minimum wage. A Change.org petition claimed Goodwill’s low pay was based on an provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act left over from the 1930s, enabling the company to pay its disabled workers as little as $0.22 an hour. This low pay comes despite the company’s willingness to paying its executives six-figure salaries, and in spite of its apparent commitment to helping people secure good jobs.
That said the organization is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, and in 2015 helped 312,000 people secure jobs. The thrift store offers a great alternative to throwing things into the dump, and therefore helps the environment.
And as to whether you’ll patronize the new North Beach location or not, you can be sure it’ll be the cheapest spot in the neighborhood to pick up a new (old) sweater, a pair of old cowboy boots, or a functioning toaster.
The store will open at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 6 at 295 Bay St.