10 Decades in 10 Months of Evergreen Goodwill: 1990s
In the 1990s, the Pacific Northwest experienced significant cultural and economic shifts, with Evergreen Goodwill at the forefront of this transformation.
Following the end of the Cold War, immigrants flocked to Seattle and Evergreen Goodwill recognized the need for support. In 1990, we launched the “Customized English Communication Skills” program, empowering non-English speaking immigrants with essential language skills. By year-end, the organization had assisted 110 immigrants from eleven countries.
Throughout the early '90s, Evergreen Goodwill remained committed to education. Our programs, such as "Job Readiness Training," "American Conversational English," and "The Goodwill Adult Literacy Center," equipped individuals with the skills needed for employment and community engagement. In 1993, the Community Learning Center taught reading, writing, and conversational English to 500 students.
Not only did our program options expand, so did our nonprofit retail space. In 1995, Evergreen Goodwill expanded its retail operations, opening a new store in Tukwila and announcing plans for further retail expansion. By 1996, the Seattle Outlet store opened in front of the 1400 S. Lane location, and a new retail location in Bremerton opened. Between 1995 and 1999, Seattle Goodwill opened five new locations, including Bellingham, Marysville, Mount Vernon, Bremerton, and Bellevue, totaling 10 retail locations.
The '90s also marked the beginning of grunge subculture, led by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. This movement celebrated thrifted, well-worn fashion, making flannels, ripped jeans, and vintage tees symbols of rebellion and self-expression—continuing the demand for retail space. Evergreen Goodwill became a haven for grunge fashion enthusiasts, breathing new life into the world of second-hand style.
Evergreen Goodwill's ability to adapt during the transformative '90s exemplified our mission. From promoting thrifted grunge fashion, to supporting newcomers to the region and programming and retail expansion, our organization thrived and continues to be a beacon of opportunity today.