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Goodwill adds computer lab to newer Third Street store – Tribune

New computers in local Goodwill Stores give new meaning to shopping online.

Visitors patronizing the Goodwill Store at 600 S. Third St. might notice three computers sitting in front of the window, all facing the highway. But there’s no price tag on the monitors and the units are not for sale.

Bill Tennis, executive director of Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries Inc., said those units join about 10 in use at the 2702 S. Third St. location, all in place to help people lacking Internet access.

“Our experience, what we’ve found at our other facilities, is that a lot of people don’t have access to a computer,” Tennis said, explaining the difficulty this can present in the year 2012.

Most employers now require online applications, and unemployment claims must be filed through the Internet.

The Goodwill Stores’ computers are online and feature Open Office software complete with word processing and other programs necessary for people to fill out resumés or get assistance, he said. The Vigo County Public Library also offers similar services, but there’s often a waiting line for its terminals, Tennis said, pointing out the traffic there points to a real community need.

Internet access is available at the stores between 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The computer labs offer common sense rules regarding time limits, Tennis said, explaining that users shouldn’t be playing games if other people are waiting to complete a job application.

But other than that, software is in place to block inappropriate websites , and a surveillance camera documents the people using the terminals.

The store at 600 S. Third St. opened last March, and Tennis recalled stating his intentions then to place more computers at the site for the public to use. One year later, they’re in place.

Ryan Davis, 28, began working at that store as a sales associate just two weeks after it opened, and said the computer lab will be a welcome benefit to the community.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said, observing the waits people might experience at other locations. Not everyone has a laptop, and the store at 2702 S. Third St. offers print services as well as computers. “It’s just more of a convenience.”

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or

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