Despite popularity, BI Goodwill closing

Bainbridge Island residents hoping to clean out their closets this summer should be prepared for a lot of driving.

The only Goodwill Donation Center on BI will be closing June 30, leaving it without a one-stop-shop for donated items.

Evergreen Goodwill, the regional nonprofit that manages the donation center, cited staffing issues and logistical challenges for the closure. Typically, the center required five staff members to function – at peak performance, the BI location alone filled four 28-foot trailers per week with donated furniture, clothes, kitchenware, electronics, toys, tools, sports equipment and more.

But without adequate personnel, the center closed frequently, and retrieval of donated goods became a challenge, said Fraser MacPherson, Evergreen Goodwill communications specialist.

“We were not able to operate this attended donation center to our standards, which led to unexpected closures, overflowing trailers of donated goods, and at times frustrated community members,” MacPherson said. “We know this site has long been an important place for island residents to donate their items, and this was a difficult decision to make.”

For the time being, corporate Goodwill does not have any plans to reopen a donation center or a retail store on BI, but it is receptive to feedback from the community, MacPherson said. In the meantime, corporate recommends that residents visit the location in Silverdale.

There is no shortage of secondhand stores and reuse options on BI, but not all of them are able to accept the same variety of items as Goodwill.

The Bargain Boutique on Hildebrand Lane, which benefits Seattle Children’s Hospital, takes clothing and some furniture, but does not accept baby and childcare supplies, such car seats or cribs, or exercise equipment, televisions, entertainment centers, tupperware, barbecues, lawnmowers, and other items. Waterfront Thrift, run by the BI Senior Center, can accept small household items, home decor, clothing and shoes, but can’t take unwieldy furniture.

Other options, like the Buy Nothing Project and annual Auction and Rummage Sale hosted by the Rotary Club of BI, offer more varied donation options, but have limitations. The auction only comes once a year, and Buy Nothing requires access to the internet.

“I get that people don’t love Goodwill, but a lot of the other places will not take every kind of item, Jessica Wexler of BI said. “There are a lot of people who will throw [stuff] in the dump rather than sort and take it to multiple places, post on Buy Nothing, or go all the way to Silverdale.”