Retail skills success: Susanna Rink

As a young adult, Susanna Rink avoided thrift stores.  But she took a chance on Goodwill, and now she can’t imagine doing anything else.  Meet the manager of our South Lacey store.

“When my parents took us on a trip we had to stop at every thrift store along the way and as a kid, that gets really old,” said Rink. “So I hadn’t been in a thrift store for decades when I walked into Goodwill one day back in 2009 looking for a fish tank.  And before long I was chatting with the assistant manager.”

Susanna had just left her job at Pizza hut and wanted a career change.   Moving away from home and taking an entry level job at sixteen meant no time for a high school diploma and college .  She learned however that Goodwill would offer employment and a career path even with her situation – and in a career field that she had always wanted.

“I filled out the application and they called me back and hired me as a cashier. Immediately my parents were vindicated and I wondered if mom knew all along, because by my second or third day, I didn’t want to do anything else.“

Susanna started working every position in thrift retail, advancing to supervisor that first year. After stints at several Goodwill locations, she was promoted to production assistant manager in Yelm in 2012, and finally this year – store manager at the South Lacey location.

“I love working in thrift because you have to be creative, it’s not like regular retail with a pre-set pallet of goods. All the unique items you see every day are amazing.  The work you put in to showcase inventory you automatically see in sales and that is really gratifying.”

But she most enjoys the people who come to work in her store. “You get to change people’s lives by offering them a job and giving them skills.  Even people unaccustomed to  a normal workplace, we can give them social skills, conflict resolution skills, along with job skills like learning how to be cashier .

“Seeing the life you can change by offering somebody a job, an opportunity, then making somebody successful – this is the work I am most passionate about.”