Habitat for Humanity ReStore, set in a 19,000 square-foot warehouse, serves about 200 people per day. If it weren’t for non-monetary donations, the unique second-hand retail outlet in Kensington would not be able to open its doors for operation or serve the community at all.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located at 2930 Jasper St., opened to the public September 2011. Prior to its grand opening, Habitat for Humanity’s main office at 1829 N. 19th St. was receiving donations to fill the empty warehouse.
“True Value made a donation in the beginning that helped stock the store,” Javier Lanchang, store manager of ReStore, said.
The hardware store not only donated 600 pallets of merchandise, it also set a precedent for other companies to follow. Now, a year and a half later, ReStore is getting large amounts of donations from companies like True Value, US Airways, Lowe’s Home Improvement and GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company, are just to name a few.
“We’re going to be going down to the [Philadelphia] airport and picking up basically an entire executive lounge worth of furniture,” Pratt said about an upcoming donation from US Airways.
Just recently, Loews Philadelphia Hotel on Market Street teamed up with ReStore in Philadelphia and ReStore in Camden, N.J., to donate 500 toilets, which were pulled out during renovation.
“It is pretty much a win-win-win all across the board– perfectly usable stuff that has plenty of life in it and can be put into somebody’s home,” Emily Pratt, ReStore logistics manager, said. “Every piece that we can save from being put into the dumpster is such a huge deal… If it hadn’t been for us, they would’ve all gone to the landfill.”
Last year, ReStore was able to salvage 275 tons of what would have been waste.
While some companies donate items to be sold, other companies donate materials to help improve the store. PECO, formerly known as Philadelphia Electric Company, is currently in the process of replacing light fixtures in the warehouse. Along with donating the light fixtures themselves, PECO is doing all of the installations for free.
When it comes to individuals and companies wanting to donate, the possibilities are endless. Items accepted for donation range from appliances, cabinets and furniture to electrical supplies, kitchen sinks and hardware.
“There’s definitely a lot more stuff than I thought, but I was surprised at the wide variety. I was looking for a dresser and they have a lot of dressers to choose from,” shopper Darla Scudder said about her first experience in ReStore.
While ReStore carries a wide variety of items, it’s the little knick-knacks and hidden treasures people find which make customers want to come back.
“It’s a lot more of a selection and sometimes you’ll find something out of the ordinary that you weren’t expecting to find,” shopper Danni Hunter, who purchases items at ReStore to refurbish her house, said. “Other stores, if I’m going in there for paint, I’m gonna just get paint. This one may have paint [and] I may find other little projects that I want to do.”
What makes ReStore different from any other second-hand outlet, such as Goodwill, is the items they do not accept, which is mostly clothing, linen, mattresses and box springs.
“Anything that is broken, severely damaged, nothing that has a huge rip in it or if it’s really stained, wooden furniture that the drawers are falling apart, something not structurally sound,” Pratt said about what items they can not accept.
In addition to benefiting from free pickup, people who donate can receive a tax-deductible receipt upon donating their used or new items.
“All donations are tax deductible. If someone is renovating their kitchen and they send us their appliances, their kitchen cabinets, they will get a tax-deductible receipt,” Lanchang, who has been the manager for three months, said.
After donations are made, prices are determined based on quality, age and condition. After marking down the price, the final dollar amount can end up being about one-third of its original price. The cheapest item in the store is nails, which cost about 50 cents. Couches could range anywhere from $50 to $1,000 and high-end cabinet sets could be more than $1,000.
“They do have a lot of things here that would be helpful and save you money and help with your budget in doing your house that Home Depot would charge a lot for,” Matthew Shippen, a shopper who comes in the store once a week, said.
At the end of the day, all non-monetary and monetary donations made to ReStore will help a greater cause– building homes for those in need, which essentially is what Habitat for Humanity is all about.
“Well we’re still sort of in the growing stages. Our hope really is to build one house with the profits in this ReStore and then for that number to increase going forward,” Frank Monaghan, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, said.
While it takes about $140,000 just to rebuild one home, smaller dollar amounts contribute to the rebuilding one way or the other. A $35 donation will buy hammers for volunteers, $50 will buy all the nails for a home and $96 can build one square foot of a home.
“Literally people were telling us, ‘You almost carpeted the entire neighborhood,’” Lanchang said. “We had feedback also from the neighborhood in terms of ‘We’re glad you’re here’…essentially this used to be an empty building so as another retail establishment, this helps the neighborhood.”
To make a donation to Habitat for Humanity ReStore, click here to visit their website.
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