TC Habitat for Humanity ReStores Hope
Well-timed for pandemic-inspired home improvement projects and helping neighborhoods affected by protest-related damages rebuild, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has reopened two ReStore locations in New Brighton and Minneapolis this summer. The stores, which had been shut down for renovation and due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are back in the swing of things and ready to serve their communities again.
ReStores are independently owned reuse shops operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. They accept individual and company donations of items such as home improvement supplies, furniture, appliances, and building materials, and then sell them to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Every dollar raised from ReStore sales goes towards Habitat for Humanity’s mission of helping eliminate housing poverty by building and renovating affordable housing and providing financial and loan assistance to low income families looking to buy homes. Each year, Twin Cities ReStores help build six new homes around the Twin Cities metro.
While there are 1,000 ReStore locations nationally, the New Brighton store, built in 2009, consistently ranks in the top 20 in terms of number of donations. To keep up with demand, the store underwent a $300,000 renovation at the beginning of the year which added 14,000 square feet and quadrupled the amount of parking. The remodel was completed in April, but due to coronavirus, the store just reopened last month.
The Minneapolis store, originally opened in 2016 and located at 2700 Minnehaha Ave., was also forced to close in March due to the pandemic. But, despite also being damaged during the George Floyd protests at the end of May, the store reopened on June 9 to serve its community. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity president and CEO Chris Coleman said he hopes this Minneapolis store will be an affordable resource for the Lake Street corridor as the community rebuilds. The store is offering 20 percent off its already discounted prices through Labor Day.
Despite the fact that Twin Cities ReStore locations have seen an uptick in donations since the pandemic—they even had to purchase a third box truck to keep up with the demand for pickup—the stores are having trouble keeping shelves stocked. Most products are gone within the week, said Minneapolis ReStore Donations Manager Robin Henrichsen. The stores are looking for cabinets, appliances, tools, yard and garden tools, building materials, and “can always find a home for furniture,” she adds.
In addition to furniture and materials, both ReStore locations are in need of more volunteers to work in stores. Many of its volunteer staff members were retirees who aren’t comfortable being in-store due to Covid-19. They are looking for volunteers who can commit to at least three months.