ReStore Your Community

Habitat for Humanity brings a retail store to Montgomery County just in time for holiday buying and giving.

Thrift stores and consignment shops are community staples, but finding a one-stop shop for discounted home repair and maintenance tools has always been a bit more difficult—until now. Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County has opened ReStore just north of King of Prussia in West Norriton, where building materials, home appliances and furniture fill the retail shelves.

Community members have donated most of ReStore’s products, but some were surplus materials from the local Habitat chapter’s construction projects. (The organization’s mission is to eliminate poverty housing through the construction of adequate shelter.)

ReStore provides three great benefits to the local and regional communities. It suggests the importance of enhancing the environment through reuse, eliminating the negative impact of waste, as the store’s items would have entered landfills otherwise. It supplies reliable home-improvement items at a fraction of the cost—new items are sold at 50-percent the original retail cost, and gently used items are marked down to as low as 10 percent the original price. But, most importantly, ReStore serves as one of the largest funding sources for Habitat, as all sales sustain the organization’s operating costs by going directly toward building homes.

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More than 750 Habitat for Humanity affiliates throughout the United States have opened ReStore locations since the mid-1990s. “It’s a natural fit for the organization,” says Linley Kirkwood, who is the community outreach coordinator for the Montgomery County chapter. “This is something we’ve been looking to do for a very long time.”

The Phillie Phanatic at the ReStore grand opening.Habitat hosted a grand opening for ReStore at the end of September, cutting the ribbon, coordinating do-it-yourself clinics and demos, and celebrating the growth of the affiliate. With a strong presence from local university students, community members and even the Phillie Phanatic, the event launched ReStore into an effective fall season.

This new fundraising effort comes at a crucial time for Habitat. Although Montgomery County is statistically quite wealthy, approximately 5,700 homes in the area have been declared substandard. Leaky roofs, inadequate heating systems and other issues have sparked problems for many residents. That being said, it’s no surprise that close to 250 families attended the Habitat orientation session for potential homeowners this year, as opposed to fewer than 75 only a few years ago.

“Many nonprofits have difficulties finding unrestricted funding or money that we can use for whatever we need,” Kirkwood says. “The ReStore will have a huge impact as a funding source for the organization.”
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