MOUNT VERNON — ReStore, a building and home improvement supply store operated by Knox County Habitat for Humanity, has moved into the former Loma Linda building on Wooster Road, and the volunteers are thrilled with the extra display and storage space.
Habitat volunteers, who normally work on Habitat houses, have spent the last 30 days building shelving and display cases and moving items — such as a huge selection of doors and frames — from the facility on South Norton Street
“Besides our selection of building and home improvement items, we’re adding furniture to our product mix now that we have a place to put it,” said Restore co-manager Dan Hansen. “For the last year or so we’ve turned down dozens and dozens of donations because we just didn’t have the room for it.”
“We also take small appliances, washers, dryers and stoves that are in working order,” added co-manager Mike Flora.
“Now we have a place to test the appliances to make sure they work,” said Hansen. “We are going to start accepting refrigerators, too. Even if people bring us ‘junk,’ we recycle it. We also take partially empty cans of paint. We inspect it, and if it is good, we will put it out for sale. If not, we will treat it so it can go to the landfill.”
ReStore now has the space to also accept donations of leftover items such as carpeting or floor or ceiling tile from contractors in the area.
New items are generally sold at half the retail cost, and the other items are marked with a suggested sale price. Some prices are negotiable.
“The prices we put on are so low,” said Flora, “that our customers know they are getting a good deal on everything from paint to light fixtures to replacement windows.”
All items in the ReStore are donated items, and Habitat volunteers will pick up things people want to donate if necessary. For instance, Flora said, someone might have a storm door they want to donate but it won’t fit in their car.
“They should just call our office,” he said “and leave a message on our answering machine. The number is 393-1434. One of our office volunteers will get back with them.”
Asked why he volunteers with Habitat and ReStore, Flora responded, “It’s a good cause. And we are retired and there are a lot of nice people working with Habitat. It just makes it rewarding.”
“And,” said Hansen, “it’s fun. ... We found it is very in important to our customers. They come to depend on us for a lot of things and we’re happy to be here. People who don’t have a lot of money still need to maintain their houses. We’ll have something here that they may have to pay three or four times more for at [a commercial retail store.] That makes it very meaningful.”
The ReStore, for now, is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hansen said plans are in the works to also be open on Monday and Wednesday mornings in the future.
One hundred percent of the profits from the ReStore operation go toward Habitat for Humanity building programs in Knox County.
Hansen said Mark Ramser, who owns both the former and new ReStore building, has been a firm supporter of Habitat activities and has a done great deal to make the Wooster Road facility suitable for the ReStore.