The old adage “One man’s trash is another’s treasure” couldn’t be closer to the truth in Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores. Entering one of these centers is like being dropped smack into the middle of an eclectically ginormous garage sale.
What’s a ReStore?
Best described as a social enterprise, ReStores are home renovation/decor and building supply outlets created by Habitat for Humanity to fund the charity’s mission: To provide home ownership to deserving families.
Unique in concept, 100% of inventory is donated by commercial builders, leasing agents, manufacturers, businesses and local citizens. Products are sold at a fraction (50% - 80%) of the retail price to the general public - deal seekers who inevitably find those “I just have to have that” items on ReStores’ abundantly stocked shelves. In essence, a customer buying a bargain, helps Habitat build a home.
The world’s first ReStore opened its doors in Winnipeg in 1991. Yes, it’s a Canadian creation! Since that date, stores have been established in Australia, New Zealand and, most recently, in Europe. Canada and the USA have 95 and 850 centers respectively. Of the fourteen stores in BC, there are two thriving locations in the Okanagan: one in West Kelowna which opened in 2012; and a larger (23,000 sq. ft.) center in Kelowna established in 2015
Although the concept is relatively new, Rob Voisin, Vice-President of ReStore & Product Support for Canada says it’s growing fast. “In 2015, the 95 Canadian stores grossed a total of $55,000,000 in sales, with approximately $23,000,000 of that amount being profits for Habitat.”
In addition to funding Habitat for Humanity’s home building projects, shopping at a ReStore is an environmentally conscious decision. Much of what is sold is reusable material that would otherwise be thrown away. Since 1998, Voisin estimates ReStores have been responsible for diverting more than 250,000 tons of “good waste” from land fills.
We all have stuff we no longer need, use or even know why we bought in the first place. To this Deborah Guthrie, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity Okanagan, passionately declares, “Don’t dump it, donate it.”
Donations can be dropped off at either Kelowna location during regular store hours or, if it’s BIG stuff , a (curb only) pick-up can be arranged by calling a local store.
While every Habitat ReStore is a little different, most welcome donations of household goods, furniture, appliances and building materials. The two Kelowna