ReStore is a home-improvement thrift store
Habitat For Humanity of Summit and Wasatch Counties Utah was established in 1985 as an affiliate of the international organization that is dedicated to eliminating poverty housing and homelessness.
The local chapter’s goal is to help families live closer to the areas where they work, play and go to school.
To help with that mission, it has opened ReStore, a home-improvement thrift store, at 6280 N. Silver Creek Rd. in Silver Summit.
ReStore accepts donations of gently used household items and sells them to raise funds for building projects and other services in Summit and Wasatch Counties, said Kris Swanson, ReStore manager.
"We have a wide variety of items that we collect and sell," Swanson said. "We have whole sets of kitchen cabinets and counter tops, dining tables, even a telescope, an air-hockey table, ovens and a $15,000 stove that got yanked out of a home in Deer Valley, because the new owner decided it was old."
Other items include toilets, bed frames, a grandfather clock, armoires and artwork.
"We also get donations from companies," Swanson said. "Sherwin Williams has given us gallons of mistinted paint, and I’ve received some building materials from private contactors and some lighting fixtures from a display lighting company that were only used for trade shows."
The donations, which the public can buy, help Habitat maintain its dedication to keeping the environment clean.
"Part of the green formula for us is to keep these items out of the landfill," Swanson explained. "A lot of our donations, especially those from general contractors and property management companies who handle remodeling, are usually thrown away.
"So instead, they are able to donate them to us," she said. "I’ve heard many of these contractors tell us that they are happy they have a place to drop these things off, because the other charities are full."
Furthermore, anyone who donates will get a tax credit.
"When people donate to us, they get a tax-deductible receipt, and they get to determine the fair-market value of the items they give us," Swanson said.
If people can’t find a way to get the items to the store, ReStore volunteers will schedule pick-ups.
ReStore volunteers will then fix up and resell the items at between 10 and 50 percent below the retail value.
Still, there are items ReStore will not accept.
"We won’t take mattresses, for instance, and we don’t take small amounts of paint," Swanson said. "We also don’t take a lot of electronics, and those specifications can be looked up on our website."
Customers can buy anything they find useful at ReStore, and for the bigger items, ReStore volunteers will schedule deliveries.
"So, it’s a convenient bargain place for shoppers, but also a great way to stabilize our fundraising," Swanson said. "It’s another piece of the funding pie and a way to make sure we can leverage our donors’ dollars more and better serve the community."
Some of the donations will also be used in the homes Habitat builds.
"For example, if we need something like toilets or cabinets in the houses we are building or remodeling, we can use what we have here," Swanson said. "It’s exciting for us because if we need an appliance, we can just choose from what we have, and when we sell items, we are raising money to purchase other things we need in our projects.
"In fact, we have some light fixtures and doors stored in the back that we will use in the new Marsac house," she said.
The goal for ReStore, according to executive director Lisa Schneider, is to have a positive impact on the community when it comes to affordable housing.
"The needs are deep and wide, although we don’t see them," Schneider said. "We have people living in substandard housing. We’ve got overcrowding in apartments. Also, there are people who are outpriced and are paying more than 50 percent of their income for a two-bedroom apartment.
"So, the cost of living for the people who work here is high, and that is where Habitat wants to make an impact," she said. "We want to work with people who living on a fixed income who need to get in affordable housing that is appropriate for their family size."
To date, there are more than 800 ReStore facilities throughout the United States, Canada and Ireland, Swanson said.
"ReStore is a worldwide Habitat for Humanity model and brand," she said. "We’re following it as closely as we can, because it has been very successful as a fundraising tool for Habitat affiliates throughout the world.
"We have estimated that by 2016, we will keep at least 273 tons of material out of the Summit County Land Fill every year," she said.
While donations are always appreciated, Swanson said an immediate need is volunteers.
"ReStore is run primarily by volunteers and a skeleton staff, so I’m always looking for people to work in the store or go out to pick up donations," she said. "They can jump on our website and click the volunteer button and sign up for shifts at their convenience, or tell us what their skills and interests are."
The ReStore is open to the public, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at 6280 N. Silver Creek Rd. in Silver Summit. It also accepts donations during those times. For more information, visit http://www.habitat-utah.org.
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