Habitat for Humanity Dutchess County – ReStore

Habitat Dutchess ReStore“It’s an amazing feeling to run a retail operation that has a purpose … the money we earn at this store gets plowed back into the community so Habitat can build safe, affordable houses for low income residents.”

ReStore Director, Karen Glorioso

Support Provided:  $200,00 start-up loan

Impact:  Social Enterprise Investment, 4 jobs created to date (August 2016)

The Back Story

You just bought a new sofa but what are you gonna do with the old one?   Or, you’re moving but your old furniture doesn’t fit into your new apartment – who will take it out of your home and off your hands?  Dutchess County residents have a new alternative. The Habitat ReStore makes it easy for donors to give away furniture and other household items, provides shoppers with access to great deals and prices on home items and offers volunteers a meaningful opportunity to give their time and talent to run the store.  Oh, and one more thing – all monies raised from the ReStore are used to support Habitat for Humanity and its mission to build safe, affordable homes.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Over 800 such ReStores exist nationwide.  Although all are independently owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations, Habitat International provides market research, guidelines and hands-on support to local Habitats who endeavor to open a ReStore.  There is even a ReStore University where managers can gain insight into best practices and retail business training on topics such as product donations, volunteer management to help run the operation and marketing strategies to attract shoppers.  Armed with market analysis, strong connections to local businesses and universities and access to a vast network of skilled volunteers, Habitat of Dutchess was ripe to open a ReStore.   Executive Director for Habitat Dutchess, Maureen Lashlee recalls ”we found a 10,000 square foot warehouse as well as a larger retail location and needed $200,000 to fund a variety of expenses associated with the launch.  As a nonprofit lender, Community Capital has been active in Dutchess, fostering the creation of affordable homes and small businesses in our region.  It’s a great partnership.”

The Outlook

The Dutchess ReStore opened in early June 2016 and in just 6 weeks it has hired 4 full time employees and attracted over 40 volunteers to give their time and talent to help run the store.  Director Karen Glorioso who has over 18 years of retail experience is working with the enthusiastic staff and cohort of volunteers to merchandise and arrange the inventory to create a thoughtful shopping experience.  The ReStore already receives close to 40 calls per day from people looking to donate. In a heartfelt moment, Karen reflects “it’s an amazing feeling to run a retail operation that has a purpose … the money we raise at this store gets plowed back into the community so Habitat can build safe, affordable houses for low income residents.  It also makes it easier for residents to be green by encouraging re-use and recycling while generating revenue for building projects.”