On Your Side: Battle of the Goodwills

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, December 19, 2007

AUGUSTA -- Two organizations with similar names, but different operations; Goodwill Industries and America's Goodwill. We're clearing up the confusion about them as 12 On Your Side gets to the bottom of the battle of the Goodwill stores.

One has been around for more than a hundred years, the other for about one year. They both say they have similar objectives, helping people. But the names are similar and that's causing confusion and legal action.

Goodwill Industries' Dana Wideman-Howard thought she'd seen just about everything until about two weeks ago.

“People have trucks because they're thinking they're getting ready to load up," Dana said.

Lots of people outside the Goodwill Industries store on Peach Orchard Road mistakenly expected a handout.

"It's the season when people give and people were ready to receive," Dana said emphatically.

Those people came to that store because they'd heard a story on News 12 telling them there was a giveaway at a store with "Goodwill" in the name. Trouble is, it wasn't Goodwill Industries.

It was a store called America's Goodwill, which is on the same road, just a few miles away.

"This is a non-profit thing, we don't make a penny," said King Singleton, with America's Goodwill.

King and other helpers run America's Goodwill, a store built on an unusual concept. It's unusual because everything in the store is free to anyone who wants it.

However, good intentions or not, Goodwill Industries says they had the name first.

“We can't accept that someone would use our brand to further another cause. It's confusing for the community and an infringement," said Executive Director of the Augusta Chapter of Goodwill Industries, Meredith Vazquez.

But it goes beyond the name; Goodwill Industries' workers say when they made a donation to America's Goodwill they got a donation receipt that looks strikingly similar to Goodwill Industries' donation receipt, minus the logo and addresses at the top of the page.

We showed America’s Goodwill the comparison, but King Singleton responded by saying, "No, that's not ours,” while pointing to the receipt.

King says his organization's goal is to reduce waste and help people and not to offend anyone at Goodwill Industries.

"Since there is a controversy, we're taking that name off and the website is down," King Singleton said.

Workers at America's Goodwill told 12 On Your Side the organization would change names to America's Givers.

But as of December 19th, that change had not happened and representatives of Goodwill Industries says a lawsuit is being filed against America's Goodwill.


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