Rejects are golden at ReStore warehouse
By Scot Crocker
Most people know about Habitat for Humanity and its mission to provide affordable housing.
But fewer are aware of ReStore, Habitat’s 45,000-square-foot warehouse selling donated construction materials, home furnishings, fixtures and other items.
The ReStore warehouse at 819 North 10th St. generates significant revenue to support Habitat’s primary mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Basically, Habitat rallies volunteers to build homes for people in need.
To support the mission, Habitat raises money through financial donations and events. ReStore dollars provide a catalyst for more home-building projects. In the past year, ReStore generated about $1.3 million while diverting 950,000 pounds of materials from landfills.
“It’s been a good year for us,” says Andrea Weathington, ReStore’s resource development officer. “Our goal for the upcoming year is to reach $1.5 million in revenue.”
With five full-time and five part-time employees under the direction of Phil Miller, ReStore is on a mission. Weathington handles promotion and community outreach to seek collections from businesses, construction firms and other sources.
Donations to ReStore run from common to unique. And the constant flow of new products keeps new and loyal customers coming back for more.
“We have the support of construction companies who provide us with leftover building materials that we can sell for 30 to 70 percent off,” Weathington says. “We get cabinets, lots of light fixtures, doors, windows, materials and more. Other contractors looking for a good deal can find what they need here.”
Other donated items include useable furniture and home furnishings from individuals and families who would rather donate these goods than send them to a landfill. Some of the donations are used but still in good shape. Some are new.
ReStore received a donation of many new Keurig coffeemakers, which were a hit with ReStore shoppers. Other high-end donations include Lumen’s light fixtures and returned products from Costco and other retailers.
One popular category at ReStore includes furniture sent back to manufacturers by customers. Instead of taking the product back, manufacturers and retailers donate to ReStore.
A big hit at ReStore was the sale of brand-new furniture from Los Angeles home furnishings company Joybird. When the products hit the warehouse, there was a line out the door.
“It was so popular that it looked like Black Friday after customers heard about the inventory from social media posts,” Weathington says. “We still get more inquiries asking when will get more Joybird furnishings.”
The folks at Joybird take a lot of pride in supporting Habitat and ReStore. “At Joybird we believe design is personal and no one is making design more personal than Habitat for Humanity. We are honored to be a small part of the work they do,” says Aubree Salmon, Joybird project manager.
She explains Joybird furniture is custom built with a liberal return policy. If a buyer doesn’t like the color or look, or it doesn’t fit properly, the buyer has a year to return it. Rather than take the product back, Joybird donates it.
“It’s really important that our products are used again,” says Laurie Badger, Joybird’s customer happiness efficiencies manager. “We really like Habitat’s mission and it aligns with our mission.”
The Joybird team of Badger, Salmon and Jennifer Nguyen was honored at Habitat’s recent 26th annual Hammy Awards celebrating donors, sponsors and trade partners.
“It was really, really exciting,” Salmon says. “It’s kind of mind blowing to see the impact we’ve had in Sacramento and the good work Habitat does in the community.”
To reach its goal of $1.5 million in revenue, Weathington plans more outreach for donations from individuals and businesses while promoting the store aggressively through social and traditional media.
“We have a lot planned,” she says. “We are putting together do-it-yourself events every quarter at the ReStore to help our customers with various home-improvement products.”
Scot Crocker can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.