Development of shopgoodwill.com® Internet Auction Site in 1999 Changed the Way Goodwill® Attracts Shoppers
ROCKVILLE, MD — George Kessinger, retired president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, was inducted into the Goodwill Industries Hall of Fame for leading the development of the nonprofit’s popular internet auction site, shopgoodwill.com. The induction ceremony took place recently at the organization’s annual meeting of CEOs.
In 1999, Kessinger served as president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Orange County (Santa Ana, CA). That year, he and his staff launched shopgoodwill.com, one of the first nonprofit auction sites. The collective e-commerce opportunity dramatically changed the retail operations and revenue-generating capacity of Goodwill. Kessinger understood that online purchasing and the popularity of Internet auction sites signaled an unprecedented opportunity. Today, more than 1.3 million shoppers are registered to bid, and the site receives an average of 132,000 visits per day. In just 2015 alone, the site brought in a record $5.6 million in sales. The site includes finds from the billions of pounds of donated goods from across the Goodwill enterprise, including art, collectibles and vintage items. More than 80 percent of the revenue from the sale of items on the site benefits Goodwill’s job training and other community-based programs, so shoppers can feel good about their purchases.
Kessinger had a 39-year career with Goodwill, including four years as president and CEO in Charleston, WV, four years as president and CEO in Kansas City, MO, and 24 years as president and CEO in Santa Ana, CA. In 2001, he became president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, a post he held for seven years until his retirement. He also headed the steering committee overseeing the construction of Goodwill Industries International’s permanent headquarters in Rockville, MD.
Although retired, Kessinger continues to make Goodwill a priority — now as its ad hoc historian. He worked to digitize the Hall of Fame, which made the stories of Goodwill’s early leaders more accessible to staff at local Goodwill agencies. He continues working on a comprehensive database to capture data that is only stored as hardcopy information in archives or in the memories of retired CEOs.
“George’s interest in technology and his vision for a Goodwill sales channel beyond brick and mortar stores led to the one of the most important advances for Goodwill retail operations,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Today, more than 80 percent of local Goodwill member agencies sell goods on shopgoodwill.com. That speaks volumes for George’s contributions and demonstrates why he deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.”