1917 During this year. Ted first heard the story of how Reverend E. J. Helms had started the Goodwill idea in Boston, Mass., and began to consider his own relationship to this idea. About this time Ted started to feel God had other work for him than factory foreman and turned his thoughts to the ministry.
1921 Changing the direction of his life, Ted entered Baldwin-Wallace College, a Methodist Theological Seminary in Berea, Ohio, while he ministered to churches in Akron and Strongville. Two years later he was ordained as a Methodist minister and assigned to Calvary Methodist Church in Terre Haute, Indiana.
1924-1926 Finding the congregation in financial difficulty and the community in a depressed state due to the decline of several major industries, Rev. Grob set out immediately to help both the church and the surrounding community. He was very busy with Sunday morning and evening services, Wednesday night prayer meeting and visitations to the sick. As he and Deaconess Pauline Bartruff revitalized the church's program, the congregation increased and the financial condition of the church began to improve. Rev. Grob organized a vacation Bible school for children in the most depressed areas of the community, at the church and across the river in Taylorville. Many of the children's parents were out of work and lacked such basic necessities as clothing and food. Remembering the Goodwill premise, "Not charity but a chance," he asked for donations from local merchants which would be used by the older students to make clothes for themselves and the younger children.
1926 Rev. Grob wanted to expand the use of the Goodwill idea in Terre Haute, but a visit from Goodwill founder Helms was not encouraging. A Goodwill had never been tried in a city as small as Terre Haute, but after a tour of the depressed areas, Helms agreed to give Rev. Grob $200 in missionary money if he was "crazy enough to start".
January, 1927 With this $200 and permission from the congregation to use the parsonage as its headquarters, Goodwill Industries in Terre Haute became a reality. One of the interested citizens meeting to organize the agency was George W. Krietenstein, one of the most loyal and generous of Rev. Grob's congregation at Calvary Methodist Church. As were others, Krietenstein was skeptical of the Goodwill idea, but Rev. Grob convinced him that to make a go of it, they would have to have 1,000 Goodwill bags to make the initial collection of goods. He gave Rev. Grob a check for $42.50 to buy the bags, telling him, "This is the dumbest money I ever gave away!". It certainly wasn't the last, though.
February, 1927 The first 1,000 Goodwill bags were distributed early in the month, the filled bags providing work for the first Goodwill employees in Terre Haute.
March, 1927 The Goodwill Store opened and took in $1.32 the first day. Mary Carmichael was the first customer. Soon more people discovered they could buy clothing and household articles at the Goodwill for prices they could afford.
April, 1927 The Epworth League, the young people's group at Calvary, gave the Goodwill its first truck, a Dodge panel truck which cost $75, for collecting cast-offs around town.
December, 1927 At a Rotary Club meeting, Rev. Grob emphasized the need for 2,000 more Goodwill bags. Rotarian Rev. LeRoy Brown suggested Rev. Grob stand outside the door after the meeting and take contributions from Rotary members who wished to donate toward the $85 cost of the bags. When everyone was gone, he found the whole amount had been collected. No civic group has been more supportive of the Goodwill over the years than the Rotary, and several Rotarians have been on the Goodwill Board of Directors. The 2,000 bags were distributed during the Christmas holiday in the new Deming addition in the area of 21st to Barton. The Goodwill was overflowing with merchandise after these bags were collected, putting more people to work and providing more low-cost items for purchase by the needy. The Goodwill was in business, just one short year after Reverend Grob decided to go ahead with the project.
December 28, 1927 The end of the organizational stage of Goodwill's development was marked by its official beginning, as articles of incorporation were filed in the Vigo County Recorder's office.
1929 As Reverend Grob's Goodwill work continued, so did his work as pastor of the congregation at Calvary Methodist. Joseph Entwistle, Superintendent of the Terre Haute Vitrified Brick Company, wrote to local businessmen asking for donations to support Rev. Grob's Sunday School. The letter produced the $25 Rev. Grob needed at that time. Consistently, businessmen in Terre Haute have been more than willing to support the efforts which would help the unemployed and their families help themselves. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Nehf turned over two homes on Mulberry Street to the Goodwill to house workers who could not afford rent. These became known as the Neukom-Nehf Memorial. One was used for a dormitory and the other for living, dining and kitchen area.
1929-1930 The phenomenal growth of Goodwill Industries made it increasingly evident that new and larger facilities would soon be required to continue to serve the needs of the community. Goodwill had no money to build, and it was in debt to the Merchants National Bank for two small buildings it had purchased at 120-122 North Fifth Street. The Grobs' good friend Minnie Muehlmann came through with a $1,000 donation to help reduce the debt, yet there was no money for a new building. Rev. Grob put into effect the Goodwill principle once more. He designed the building he wanted, solicited salvage materials for use in the building project and enlisted a crew of unemployed men to dig the basement, paying $1 a day in wages, supplemented by food, clothing and coal.