Goodwill Industries Thrift Shop digs out from El Nino damage

A section of roof at the Goodwill Industries retail store at Escondido collapsed after heavy rain on Jan. 6. There's no word on when the store will re-open (Shawna Henrie/

Even as Escondido’s venerable Goodwill Industries Thrift Shop was being cleaned up after El Nino huffed and puffed and blew it’s roof down, donations kept coming. And Goodwill officials already were looking toward a grand re-opening celebration, the entire community invited.

“We’re still accepting donations here,” said Beth Forsberg, Goodwill Industries of San Diego County vice president, retail and operations, standing in the shadows of the thrift shop parking lot, 550 W Washington Ave. “This is a major donation site for us and people know to come here.”

All was not copacetic, as in excellent order, the night of Jan. 6. Around 11:30 pm. during the nasty El Nino display, thundering winds and rain blew out sections of the store’s roof. This set off a Rube Goldberg sequence of unfortunate events as the building roof collapsed.

“Quite frankly, when I got the first phone call, it was there’s a problem with the roof,” Forsberg, said at the scene the following morning. “The second phone call was the roof collapsed and third phone call was thank goodness our staff got out safely.”

Forsberg added: “I live in Alpine and got the call. I came here with my pajamas under my jacket. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.”

El Nino’s deluge rattled and roared, according to Goodwill Industries officials surveying what was left of the store’s interior. About three-quarters of store inventory was damaged in the unfortunate rain event, officials said.

The cracking and odd sound, heard by the four-member, late-night store cleaning crew onsite at the time, represented roof tiles bulging before ripping. Cleaning crew members saw just enough to get the heck out of Dodge and dodge outside.

Beth Forsberg, Goodwill Industries of the San Diego county vice president, retail and operations surveying the clean-up last week. (Shawna Henrie/

Beth Forsberg, Goodwill Industries of the San Diego county vice president, retail and operations surveying the clean-up last week. (Shawna Henrie/

 As the roof came tumbling down

The roof came tumbling Humpty Dumpty down less than five minutes after the grand exit. Escondido Police and Fire were on scene by that time.

As the roof fell apart, it resembled one of those once-popular Rube Goldberg cartoon contraptions as the tumult blew out an emergency door, while also bursting a fire sprinkler pipe. In turn, the ruptured pipe sent cascades of city water through the embattled store. Water blew out glass as well with several inches flooding the building.

No timetable on when the Escondido thrift shop institution can re-open. The massive clean-up effort this month continued in earnest with dumpsters and clean-up crews doing their thing. Insurance adjustors hadn’t returned their damage estimates, but Goodwill officials said they would be reimbursed and the show would go on.

Escondido officials famously take their time with permits and approval. Not this time, “Today, we closed up the roof,”Forsberg said. “I cant stress  enough, how amazing the city of Escondido has been. I cant say enough about that. They gave us the (necessary) permits immediately. We’re hoping to re-open as soon as possible.”

In fact, Forsberg singled out Escondido Councilman John Masson for his support, saying he arrived at the knocked out store 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

If any good news were to come out of this, none of the 30-35 store workers, many of whom are disabled or working out of poverty, was laid off. They were able to relocate to other Goodwill sites, Forsberg said.

Donations keep on coming. ((Shawna Henrie/

Donations keep on coming. ((Shawna Henrie/

 Donations come and go

Meanwhile, donations were steady and often through the week. Surprisingly, some people donating didn’t even realize a storm had blown off the roof and precipitated events that trashed the store.

I always donate everything we don;t need here,” Escondido resident April McBride, said as she unloaded her car trunk. “I didn’t even know. I’m sorry to hear that.”

David Jack Rollins dropped off his load, “I was sorry to hear about what happened. I always come here and I’m sure I’ll have more to bring back.”

All music to Forsberg’s ears. Looking on the passing scene, she said, “We hope to have a grand re-opening soon with the entire community invited.”

With the temporary closure of the store, donations also can be brought to the following locations:

Goodwill Donation Storefront (1815A So. Centre City Parkway, Escondido)
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Goodwill Retail Store (1056 East Vista Way, Vista)
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Goodwill Retail Store (15703 Bernardo Heights Parkway, Rancho Bernardo)
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Goodwill Bookstore (685 South Rancho Santa Fe Road, San Marcos)
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Go to to find other locations

Be the first to comment on "Goodwill Industries Thrift Shop digs out from El Nino damage"

Leave a comment