ReStore celebrates anniversary

The ReStore marked their first year anniversary this week.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Grand Forks has come a long way after one year. The business opened out on 136 Sagamore Road in September 2014 with the thought that it would be a temporary location before moving into the MAAP (multi-agency accommodation project) building on Riverside Drive.

When the lease at Riverside wasn’t renewed, Habitat pulled out of the MAAP project and has been at Sagamore ever since.

The ReStore marked their first year anniversary this week.

“When we first moved into the location we started with a large empty room,” said manager Eric Anderson. “We built shelving outdoors, displayed product on tables or just put it on the floor. Today with proper shelving and many other upgrades, it is a lot more organized and looks just like any other regular retail outlet.”

Anderson said business has been good from the start and has continued to pick up as more people learn about the ReStore and its concept.

ReStores began in 1991 with the first one in Winnipeg.

“ReStores are environmentally friendly retail outlets operated by Habitat for Humanity, selling donated building materials and renovation products,” said Anderson. “Everything sold at a ReStore is donated either by individuals or corporate donors. The end result is that ReStores can offer good new and used products at extraordinary savings to the public.”

The primary objective of a ReStore is to raise money for the construction of new homes for low income families through Habitat for Humanity. So far, Habitat for Humanity Southeast BC (HFHSBC) has build 20 homes throughout the Kootenays, including seven in the Boundary.

Anderson said that ReStores are designed to be volunteer run, with staff available to assist as needed. “Having a ReStore run by the people it serves ensures that each ReStore is fully in tune with the community it serves,” he said. “A secondary benefit is that we are able to redirect material from landfills. ReStores across Canada keep thousands of tonnes out of landfills every year.”

The ReStore in Grand Forks is the only one in the entire southeast B.C. and Anderson said it is a great drawing card for the city.

“People across Canada recognize the ReStore brand and will go out of their way to visit one,” he said.

He said the store was built here on the initiative of the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate which has received multiple national awards for the number of homes it has built per capita.

Anderson said they hope to improve efficiency at the store in the future by acquiring equipment such as a forklift and a truck to increase their ability to manage pickups and deliveries.

HFHSEBC are hoping to find a permanent solution for affordable rent for the ReStore location.

“The more overhead we incur the less resources we have to direct to our core mission to build homes for low income families,” said Bob Huff, executive director for HFHSEBC. “We have researched other opportunities in Grand Forks and have had expressions of interest from other areas that would like a ReStore. It is not unusual for an affiliate to have more than one ReStore but the bottom line for us is that the support from the community is the determining factor.”

For more information visit the store or call them at 250-442-2720.