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ReStore set to open in P.A. mid-November

Habitat for Humanity is renewing its presence in Clallam County.

The nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for low-income families is opening ReStore, an 8,000-square-foot home improvement warehouse that collects and sells gently used home improvement items, in Port Angeles mid-November.

The store, located at 728 E. Front St., is one of more than 560 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Volunteers run each facility except for the store manager, which is a paid position.

"This is a new phenomena and has proven to be fantastically successful and an excellent source of funding to build affordable homes," said Jim Taft, board president. "We can provide new and gently used, in good shape, (materials) at a fraction of the cost. That helps the community and people who are on a limited budget as well as keeping more items out of the local landfill."

ReStore is accepting donations of clean, usable appliances, cabinets and cupboards, carpets and rugs, doors, electrical supplies, flooring, furniture, garden tools, hardware, fixtures and windows and will resell the items below retail prices. Proceeds go toward building affordable homes in Clallam County.

Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County is preparing to complete its fifth house in the past 12 months - a new record. One of the structures was the first Habitat home in Forks, the rest were built in Peninsula Village, up Golf Course Road in Port Angeles.

The last house built in

Sequim was completed mid-2006 on Maizie Court.

"We are having a very difficult time finding land in Sequim," Taft said. "There is a need for affordable housing (in Sequim) but we can't afford to buy the land, which is regrettable because some of our best volunteers come from Sequim. If we had land, we have the capability of building a house in Port Angeles and in Sequim at the same time."

Until recently, building a home through Habitat cost less than $90,000, Taft said. Now, final prices are closer to $100,000.

The organization is in dire need of a "sustainable" income, according to Taft, and ReStore is the answer.

Volunteering at ReStore is one way for community members to donate time to Habitat for Humanity without having to pound nails with a hammer or climb ladders. Organizers are looking for sales clerks, cashiers, people to receive and organize donations, "taggers" and truck drivers.

Any given day, at least two to three volunteers will be critical to operating ReStore, Taft said.

Bob Eichhorn, of Sequim, will serve as store manager. Eichhorn joins Habitat for Humanity from The Home Depot and brings more than 20 years experience in logistics, supply chain management, manufacturing, distribution and retail sales. In his new position, Eichhorn is responsible for all aspects of ReStore's operation.

"This, to me, is a godsend," Eichhorn said. "It's what I want to do and allows me to use my buying and merchandising experience."

"My main objective," Eichhorn continued, "is to generate enough revenue out of this to double the amount of homes they've been able to build

in the past."

Habitat is leasing the Front Street location.

"At some point in the future, we'd like to be able to buy a building, this one or another, but for now this one meets our needs," Taft said. "We have to prove profitable before we can worry about purchasing a building."

ReStore will be open for business 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and closed Sunday-Monday. Donations will be picked up on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

For more information or to volunteer, call Habitat for Humanity at 681-6780.



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