Editor's Note: Last night we published a story on local Goodwill locations being boarded up ahead of Election Day. This morning, the president and CEO reversed her decision, and contacted us to let us know she had changed her mind. We have written a new story outlining her thoughts, and those wishing to read the original story will find it at the bottom of this story.

The president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire decided to reverse her decision to board up a number of Goodwill locations in Sonoma County. 

Brandy Evans said after an interview with about the initial decision, she reflected that it could have an unintended impact on the broader community. “So, not specifically a Goodwill employee or a Goodwill shopper, but just the community in general,” she said. 

“And I just decided, you know, there is a possibility that someone might see something negative in that, and I’m not going to guess what that negative interpretation on their part could be, but all the sudden, it just didn’t feel good,” Evans said. “So, I just made the decision of, ‘Hey, let’s get those boards back down.” 

A number of Goodwill stores in Sonoma County were somewhere in the process of boarding up windows ahead of the presidential election to minimize the risk of damage from possible civil unrest. 

Evans said a Goodwill employee began dismantling the boards at the Healdsburg store Wednesday morning after Evans halted its construction partway through, and that the employee would remove boards from the Sebastopol store and Fourth Street location in Santa Rosa. 

The process to protect store windows began the week of Oct. 11 and were to continue this week, originally. She said the process of boarding up the Stony Point Goodwill had not started before she reversed direction. 

Evans said Tuesday when the plan was still in motion that there was no concern Goodwill facilities would be looted and that it was a completely financial decision due to the fact insurance premiums were dramatically increasing because of recent wildfires and that sometimes protests could take a wrong turn. 

“I certainly did not expect that Goodwill will be targeted in any way, but just didn’t want to take the chance and so I was putting up the protection in advance,” she said. 

Customers would have still been able to shop indoors at all open Redwood Empire Goodwill locations, but the Healdsburg, Sebastopol and the Stony Point and Fourth Street locations in Santa Rosa would have boarded their windows, she said Tuesday. She initially decided to fortify stores closest to city centers where she said protests were more likely to occur after hearing the news media say how contentious the election is. 

Evans said she did not believe the Santa Rosa area would experience civil unrest as intensely as Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and other cities across the country, but that some Goodwill locations had large glass windows that would be costly to replace. 

Evans said the organization no longer had preventative measures planned around election night. Previously, she said the organization would evaluate how soon they would remove the boards after the Nov. 3 election. 

Brenda Adams, assistant manager of the Healdsburg Goodwill store, said Tuesday that a man outside was actively boarding their windows with plywood and metal that morning and that she was trying to tell customers the store was still open its regular hours and accepting donations.

“I personally don’t foresee riots going through Healdsburg and everybody looting and destroying properties at all. We’re a very peaceful town when it comes to demonstrations and things,” Adams said Tuesday. 

Adams said she found out stores were planning to board up windows a couple weeks ago. As an employee, she said minimizing the risk made sense. As a citizen of Healdsburg, Adams said, it concerned her that businesses were taking precautions because she said the area had seen many protests and demonstrators in the street, holding signs for equality. 

“But I’ve never seen anything get violent. So, it’s kind of a hard pill to swallow knowing our store is being boarded up, but I understand why,” she said Tuesday. 

Evans said voting for president is important in the U.S. and that not every country has the luxury. 

“Just on a personal note, this election is probably the most important election in my lifetime, and if somebody were to see that and think we were somehow trying to make a message that it wasn’t important, that would be very frustrating me because that’s not the message at all,” Evans said. “The message is ‘get out and vote.’”

For those wishing to read the original article detailing the boarding up, please read below.

 

A number of Goodwill stores in Sonoma County are boarding up windows ahead of the presidential election to minimize the risk of damage from possible civil unrest.

“It’s a completely financial decision. There is no concern that Goodwills will be looted,” said Brandy Evans, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire.

Customers can still shop indoors at all open Redwood Empire Goodwill locations, but the Healdsburg, Sebastopol and the Stony Point and Fourth Street locations in Santa Rosa would board their windows, she said. She decided to fortify stores closest to city centers where she said protests were more likely to occur after hearing the news media say how contentious the election is.

Goodwill stores in other parts of the county, such as Cloverdale and Windsor, aren’t expected to have boarded up windows.

Evans said she did not believe the Santa Rosa area would experience civil unrest as intensely as Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and other cities across the country, but that the organization’s insurance premiums dramatically increased this year and some Goodwill locations have large glass windows that would be costly to replace.

“I would choose not to spend the money on that, so this is, again, a preventative measure,” she said.

The process to protect store windows began the week of Oct. 11 and is continuing this week, she said. After the Nov. 3 election, the organization will how soon they would remove the boards. Evans said she did not expect any vandalism or break-ins and hoped to take the boards down as soon as possible.

Brenda Adams, assistant manager of the Healdsburg Goodwill store, said a man outside was actively boarding their windows with plywood and metal Tuesday morning and that she was trying to tell customers the store was still open its regular hours and accepting donations.

“I personally don’t foresee riots going through Healdsburg and everybody looting and destroying properties at all. We’re a very peaceful town when it comes to demonstrations and things,” Adams said.

Adams said she found out stores would be boarding windows a couple weeks ago. As an employee, she said minimizing the risk made sense. As a citizen of Healdsburg, Adams said, it concerned her that businesses were taking precautions because the area had seen many protests and demonstrators in the street holding signs for equality.

“But I’ve never seen anything get violent,” she said. “So it’s kind of a hard pill to swallow knowing our store is being boarded up, but I understand why.”

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