Box of donated doorknobs

25 years of facts and finds

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Habitat ReStores

This year, we celebrate 25 years of Habitat for Humanity ReStores.

That’s 25 years of helping more families build decent, affordable homes in your community and around the world. These nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers — independently owned and operated by local Habitats — sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of retail price. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter in local communities and around the world.

Celebrate with us by browsing these Habitat ReStore facts, finds and stories.

1 & 2. Open for business

“The first day we opened, early May 1991, was the biggest sales day we had in the entire three years I was there. It was an exciting way to kick it all off and verified that we were on to something. We always thought it had the potential to really be successful and do a lot of good for Habitat.” — Rick Penner, the first manager at the , which opened in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was there from the beginning, helping to set up the store that would eventually share its name with Habitat ReStore locations around the world.

Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore and solar panels on roof

The next year, opened its , the first in the U.S. Proceeds have helped build 115 homes, and 19 million pounds of goods have been diverted from landfills. Austin Habitat recently moved its ReStore into a new building, generating buzz and an increase in donations, says Greg Anderson, Austin Habitat director of operations. They’re also generating something else: power. The store has 1,081 solar panels on top of the building.

3. A place to save money — and do good

Shopper Mia James is renovating in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn and says that the is her No. 1 place to find good deals on everything, including the kitchen sink! “The ReStore is such a blessing because it’s afforded me to have products that I wouldn’t have been able to afford without it,” she says. “The money you’re spending helps someone else — it’s all great karma.”

4 & 5. What else enthusiasts are saying

“You see families going into the ReStore looking for things for their home. It’s a direct impact. It’s going from one home to another. It was really special.” — Habitat Global Village volunteer trip participant Luca Repola, who worked in the during part of his trip

“ReStore is making a difference in helping to change people’s lives forever. ReStore helps raise funds for affordable housing and provides employment opportunities for those who are willing to give life a go.” — John Graham, manager at Australia’s

Judi sorts donated items at the ReStore.

6. “A little bit of magic happens here” ​

Judi Crothers has volunteered with the for 18 months. She has more than 30 years of experience in retail and volunteers two mornings a week.

“I’ve never laughed as much as I have in ReStore,” she says. “I suffer from anxiety and depression and first came to Habitat ReStore through Action Mental Health. Everyone in ReStore is very supportive, and they’ve given me the time and space to grow in confidence. That’s something that would be much harder to get in the commercial world.

“I can’t find the words to describe it; a little bit of magic happens here,” she continues. “I want to encourage everyone to get involved. We are all equal, have our own skills and have something to contribute.”

A few fun facts…

7. If you took all the doors sold at the last year and laid them end to end, they would stretch over seven Kentucky miles. That’s as long as 25 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other.

8. raised more than $823,000 in 2015.

9. In total, volunteers gave 4.34 million hours of their time to help Habitat ReStores raise money to build homes with families in 2015.

10. In that same timeframe, Habitat ReStores diverted more than 124,000 tons of goods from landfills.

ReStore manager Danny Dunn

11. ‘It’s a treasure hunt’

“There are so many great things about the ReStore. You’re going green, helping Habitat and having fun along the way. It’s a treasure hunt, a great place for good stuff, not just for good bargains.” — manager Danny Dunn, who says his entire apartment is furnished with ReStore finds

Vintage kitchen donated to Habitat Metro West / Greater Worcester ReStore

12. Full of fun finds

“The coolest thing we probably have ever gotten was a full kitchen from the 1960s. It was purchased by a movie studio who wanted to use it in their set. They donated it back, so we got to sell it twice. A customer drove down from Canada and purchased the whole thing. It was sold for more the second time than the first.” — Deborah Maruca Hoak, ReStore director at

Pool table donated to Roaring Fork ReStore.

13 & 14. All from generous donations

Like many Habitat ReStores, s receives great items for resale. But one donation was unlike any other: five truckloads of items that had once belonged to a famous film producer.

The donation included a piano; pool table; “eight gorgeous, elaborate chairs made out of antlers”; art pieces; movie posters; and much more. Habitat Roaring Fork Valley president Scott Gilbert says Colorado shoppers enjoyed the chance to buy unique items that belonged to a Hollywood producer, but the real star of the donation was the generosity behind the donation.

“The real benefit is we get to build homes,” he says. “The ReStore has transformed what our affiliate can do.”

Counted all together, Habitat ReStores have 58 cargo vans, 68 flatbeds, 229 pick-up trucks and 887 box trucks, all on standby right now to be filled with your donations!

15. There are lots of learning opportunities...

Some Habitat ReStores offer classes on home improvement. Virginia’s has hosted multiple classes in partnership with a local technical school.

Reese Heable, manager of the , says his location has hosted classes on spring maintenance, installing a ceiling fan and replacing shingles.

“Some of our homeowners don’t realize that’s something they can do themselves,” Heable says.

16 - 18. ...and creative outlets

“We definitely try to promote reuse for artistic purposes. We have several examples in the store. We have a place to post pictures of things people have made.” — Cory Beynon, director

Mural on the wall of Cleveland County Habitat ReStore

An outside wall of the in Oklahoma features a large mural painted by local artist Skip Hill. “The mural project was a crucial piece of our ReStore grand opening puzzle,” says Habitat ReStore manager Mike Jenkins. “There was a lot of awareness created as people were able to watch the progress of the mural project during the months leading up to the grand opening. The mural project and were also featured on the front page of the local paper a couple of times during that summer.”

Red rocket-shaped camper van

Driving in Alaska, you just might see a rocket ship go by. That would be the Atomic Camper, a fully functional camper that Bill Guernsey built in the shape of a rocket with many parts purchased at the . “The construction took two full years at 6 to 8 hours per day,” Bill says. “The ReStore made construction easy because there was a great deal of trial and error.”

19. And a rhythm to each ReStore

Each Habitat ReStore is different, and there can be a rhythm to how they operate.

“On the last Friday of each month, we allow customers to make offers on items they have been eyeing throughout the store,” says Jane Davis of Kansas’ . “This is called ‘Dicker with Dale.’ Dale Holeman is one of our long-term volunteers, and he gives great deals to customers on items that they are interested in.”

in California says their best donation days are Monday and Saturday, while the best days to shop are Monday and Tuesday. Up in Montana, the smartest days to drop by the are Thursdays because their pickups are mostly performed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

20 & 21. More fun facts

The recycle nine tons of metal every week.

opened its South Philadelphia ReStore in June 2015 and — within five months of opening — the ReStore had generated $100,000 for the affiliate’s work.

22 & 23. You’ll meet Habitat homeowners

At the beginning of this year, Yvette and her two young daughters, Tiara and Trinite, took official ownership of their Habitat home, one of nine homes built in Nova Scotia in 2015.

Habitat homeowner Yvette (right), who volunteered at a ReStore for sweat equity.

Yvette spent many of her sweat equity hours helping in the Habitat ReStore and enjoyed the interaction with customers and the team.

“My two daughters love their new house. They have space to run and play in the basement and can play in the backyard by themselves. Where we used to live, I couldn’t let them go outside by themselves. It’s given all of us more freedom,” Yvette says.

“This is the community where I grew up, so being able to come back and have my girls grow up here, surrounded by friends and family, is so important to me.”

Mary built her Missouri home with Habitat and has lived there since December 2012. She worked in the as part of her required sweat equity and because she knows firsthand the impact sales there can have on the community and beyond, she still volunteers.

“The work that we’re doing here, building houses, it became a mission for me,” she says. “This is my calling. This is something that I am able to give back now.”

ReStore manager Joshua Chappell

24. Immediate impact

Joshua Chappell, manager of Tennessee’s , recalls seeing a shopper enter the ReStore, then realizing that she was quietly beginning to cry and pray.

“I approached and asked how she was doing and if there was anything I could help her with,” he says.

The single mom began to tell him about her two little boys at home, her children who had been sleeping for more than two years with an open attic-access hole in their bedroom ceiling because she was unable to afford an attic-ladder to properly fix the hole. “Her neighbor had told her about the Habitat ReStore and that we had an affordably priced attic-ladder on the sales floor, so she came down to see,” he says.

“As she said this, she pointed across the sales floor and said, ‘There it is. I have been waiting two years for this! Thank you for closing the hole in my little boys’ ceiling.’

“One ‘normal’ ReStore transaction immediately became the inspirational reminder of how impactful our work really is.”

25. Find your Habitat ReStore!

Got a shopping list? Ready to donate? There are 875 ReStore locations in the United States, equaling more than 11 million square feet of shopping opportunities. Plus more around the world! Do a quick seach to find your closest Habitat ReStore.