“Owning a small business is hard and finding quality employees can be a challenge,” said Helen Holmes, owner of Ms. Girlee’s Restaurant in downtown Richmond. She opened the business in 2013, naming it after her grandmother, whose personal recipes grace the restaurant’s menu.
Holmes became an employment partner with Goodwill in 2015 when a friend referred her to solve her staffing issues. “I couldn’t find good, dependable people, so I reached out to Goodwill,” said Holmes.
She spoke with Myra Griffin, a Goodwill job developer in Central Virginia. “My job is to build relationships with local business that need employees and match them with job-ready applicants who come through Goodwill’s community employment centers,” said Griffin.
Holmes was surprised at how quickly Goodwill matched her open positions with qualified candidates. “I told Myra what I needed from an employee: customer service skills, a professional appearance and an outspoken personality. When Myra referred a job seeker to me, it’s like she could read my mind because I’ve hired everyone she referred so far,” said Holmes.
Griffin says one of the keys to successful employment partnerships is the desire to help people. “Helen is a perfect example of how Goodwill has a direct positive impact on the community and how businesses can make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Helen has an open mind and doesn’t judge job seekers who have barriers to employment. She just wants people who are ready to work and want to be successful,” said Griffin.
Since becoming an employment partner, Holmes has hired four Goodwill job seekers at her restaurant. “They’re doing a great job. Their skills are exactly what I need and they are an asset to my company,” said Holmes.
Holmes encourages other business owners to work with Goodwill as a workforce solutions provider. “I don’t know how Myra does it, but she’s amazing,” said Holmes.
Griffin heaps similar praise on Holmes. “When your heart is in the right place and you’re really trying to help people, that’s when you get results,” she said.