Seek Solutions, Not Blame for Spiraling Costs

Letter to the Editor published August 6, 2022 in the South Whidbey Record

Dear Editor,

Rumors are flying about Good Cheer’s decision not to renew the lease on our second thrift store space in Clinton. We are as sad as anyone about off-island interests making decisions that affect our community, but whether or not the owners decide to convert the space to storage units, it’s not fair to say that we are getting kicked out. We were offered what has been deemed a fair market value for retail space on Whidbey, but our thrift store revenues can’t support the rent increase.

Good Cheer is still negotiating the details of a short-term extension in the Clinton space to allow time to liquidate inventory and consider alternatives.

If you are upset about the upcoming closure of the Clinton Good Cheer Two store, we encourage you to direct thoughts and energy towards the larger systemic issues facing our society, locally and beyond.

Skyrocketing rental costs are a sign of the times, and not just at Ken’s Korner. There is much our community can and should do about the issue, but we believe that sowing anger and discontent is not what the world most needs at this time. Instead of blaming and pointing fingers, let us have meaningful conversations as a community about things such as land-use planning, the far-reaching impacts of wealth inequality, and the importance of supporting our locally-owned businesses.

Rental rates on Whidbey are spiraling to the point that small businesses and people of moderate incomes are being negatively impacted. For the most vulnerable among us who are already struggling, rising rent, food, and utility costs are crushing the ability to stay clothed, housed, and fed.

We stand in solidarity with everyone struggling to afford rent on Whidbey. And we gratefully acknowledge the privilege of having ownership of our Langley thrift store, where we can continue to generate income for the food bank, offer a source of affordable home goods, and help recycle items within the community – uninterrupted by changes in the rental market.

Good Cheer believes we are strongest when we work together to build the kind of community we want to live in. We ask our community to join us in keeping a spirit of good cheer in our hearts and efforts as we focus on positive solutions and a way forward together.

Lissa Firor, Karen Korbelik, Stephanie Turco
Good Cheer Executive Team

Good Cheer Awarded 2021 Green Power Solar Grant from Puget Sound Energy

We are proud to be a recipient of competitive grant funding from Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power and Solar Choice programs to support the installation of solar projects for our organization. As a recipient of the grant, we are aligned with PSE to solve several challenges at once: the installation of solar panels to support the expansion of cleaner energy and a healthier environment, lowering energy-related operating costs at the property, and making the push to a more inclusive clean energy future.

PSE is committed to supporting organizations that serve families and individuals in need. The company, through its Green Power and Solar Choice programs, has awarded over $1,000,000 in total grant funding to 15 local organizations in its electric service area to install new solar projects.

We are installing our system in two phases. Phase 1 consists of 83 Silfab 330-watt PV modules on the roof of the existing Food Bank. We estimate this portion will produce 27,400 kWh annually which is approximately 30% of our annual consumption. Once our building addition is complete, we will install another 32 panels in Phase 2. The whole system is estimated to provide 35,500 kWh or 40% of our annual consumption. Even though PSE can not fund the panels in Phase 2 because installation falls outside of the grant timeline, they did fund the inverters that will be able to handle the solar capacity of all 115 panels.

Click here to view our public dashboard and monitor our energy production. Thank you also to Whidbey Sun & Wind for an efficient install of Phase 1. We look forward to working with you again in the future.