The move has been several months in the making, but Habitat ReStore director Paulette Smart has confirmed “... the long-awaited expansion of the ReStore is upon us.”
And in a big way.
Saturday is the final day of regular business pending the completion of some wholesale reshuffling that will allow Habitat ReStore staff and volunteers to make maximum use of 8,000 square feet of new space. The construction project started several months ago and is nearing its completion. Now, ReStore workers must complete a lot of rearranging that will yield a retail floor of almost twice the original size.
ReStore hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. When the doors are locked late Saturday afternoon, they won’t reopen until Oct. 11 in time for the ribbon-cutting and grand-reopening ceremonies at 11 a.m. After that, the sky’s the limit and the shopper’s paradise will be taken to an all-new level. From Oct. 11 through Oct. 20, all merchandise will be marked down 25 percent, Smart stressed.
“In addition to the 25 percent off storewide for this period, we’ll also have all our holiday merchandise out and on the shelves for the grand reopening,” the ReStore director cited. “We have a lot of regular customers who have been asking about this so we figure the reopening is the best time to bring it all out.”
Many considered the ReStore a shopper’s paradise before the expansion; its doubling in size might now qualify as a super paradise to some.
“Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, customers are invited to shop the new area and take advantage of the discounts being offered,” Smart said. “This expansion is a direct result of the generosity of the Cleveland and Bradley County community and their donations to the store.”
By Habitat ReStore standards nationwide, the idea that a retail facility is doubling its floor space after only three years is mind-boggling, but then, the local retail outlet has “exceeded all expectations of everyone” since its opening at 300 Grove Ave. S.W., the site of the old Cinema Twin Theater, Smart said.
“After only three short years in the current location, our existing space could no longer accommodate and showcase the donations offered for sale,” Smart, who began her directorial duties in January, explained. “And that’s a direct result of this community.”
The Habitat ReStore doesn’t go out and buy its items. All are donations with the vast majority coming from Cleveland and Bradley County residents.
“This community is very generous,” Smart told the Cleveland Daily Banner in early July during an update on the store’s expansion. “We have outpaced (in donations and business sales) what the experts say we should be doing.”
Again, that’s because of community donors.
Habitat for Humanity operates about 800 ReStores in the U.S. Because of the size of Cleveland and Bradley County, it is considered a rural community on Habitat for Humanity maps. Yet, the local ReStore is performing at a mid-city level, Smart explained.
The ReStore sells new and used building supplies, appliances, home decor, clothing, books and a variety of items ranging in size from a breadbox, and smaller, to major pieces of furniture.
“We sell new and gently used donated material at reduced prices to the public,” Smart said. “Most importantly, 100 percent of the profits from the ReStore go to Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland’s mission of providing decent, affordable housing to qualified families in Bradley County at a zero-percent mortgage rate.”
The Habitat ReStore’s mission is not just to support Habitat home construction and area families, but also to protect the environment.
“Through the donations provided to the ReStore, we were able to keep tons of waste out of the Bradley County Landfill,” Smart stressed. “Last year, it is estimated we diverted or delayed from 300 to 350 tons of material by reselling and repurposing product donations.”
Like its retail floor, the ReStore’s customer base continues to expand. It is still visited by a large number of families in need, but the ReStore also has become a popular destination for mid- to high-income families. Its base of customers includes builders, developers, collectors, remodelers and most recently repurposers.
A repurposer is a shopper who buys a particular product and uses it for an entirely different function. For example, a repurposer might purchase a lamp stand and a kitchen bowl, refashion the two and create a birdbath. Repurposing is growing more and more popular.
Smart is especially proud of the work by her staff and volunteers in transitioning into the bigger retail space.
“We’ve been working on this for the last six weeks, and we’ve done it with no extra payroll,” she said.
Again, it’s the product of volunteer workers who Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland Executive Director Matt Carlson has credited many times as being the “backbone and lifeblood of our organization.” No less is true for the ReStore, Smart said.
The public is invited to the Oct. 11 (a Thursday) ribbon-cutting and grand-reopening ceremonies. Questions may be directed to Smart at 423-473-4610 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.