Representatives of Goodwill of Greater Detroit said this week that the nonprofit's is inching closer to reality.
According to Goodwill Director of Donated Goods Jeffrey Ukrainec, the organization is set to present their store plan to the Dearborn City Plan Commission on Monday, Jan. 9.
On Jan. 12, they'll head to the Zoning Board of Appeals, where they'll be seeking approval to build the store within a residential neighborhood. It's a move usually prohibited for "second-hand" stores, and one that required the Goodwill team to collect signatures from any residents and businesses within 700 feet of the store's proposed location on Newman Street, just south of Michigan Avenue in downtown west Dearborn.
"There were 96 signatures needed, and we collected 120," Ukrainec said Thursday. "And that's not even reaching everyone."
The plan for the store, which would occupy the space vacated by Inca Computers about a decade ago, was .
Starting the weekend after Thanksgiving, a team of Goodwill representatives went door-to-door in the surrounding area, asking residents and business owners to sign their names in support. Of about 200 names on their list, 120 signed the petition. Around 50 people declined to sign, and the signature seekers were unable to reach another 30 people.
"The people we came in contact with, we had 70 percent approval," Ukrainec said. "There were some who said no and others who wanted to review the information we gave them and get back to us."
Goodwill Director of Public Relations Mark Lane added that while several were against the idea entirely, others just wanted more information–and to see the nonprofit's flagship store in Canton.
Goodwill invited all Dearborn residents to do so in November and December, rewarding visitors with a discount on their purchase.
"They want to make sure what the store is going to look like," Lane explained. "We had a lot of people from dbn come and check out the Canton store and ask questions.”
In addition to the signatures gathered, Goodwill also needs to convince the Zoning Board of Appeals to create a waiver to allow the store to be located near a school–in this case, Sacred Heart.
Ukrainec is hopeful that a letter written in support of the store by Sacred Heart Pastor Peter Petroske will help garner favorable opinions from the board. The signatures, he added, have already been submitted to the city and "should be a non-event."
If all is successful next week, Ukrainec said they hope to sign the lease and apply for a permit to start construction as soon as Friday, Jan. 13.
"Our plan is almost ready to go and that will take a couple of weeks," he said. "It's all contingent upon that Jan. 12 (Zoning Board of Appeals) meeting."
Goodwill hopes to open the store in April.