June 24, 2010
Danville Habitat ReStore weighing expansion

Danville Habitat ReStore weighing expansion

Bernie Francisco, a Danville handyman, regularly shops at the Danville-Pittsylvania County Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 503 Hughes St. He said he would come more often if it expanded its hours. The nonprofit is studying to see whether that’s feasible.

One Danville handyman finds low-priced building materials at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Bernie Francisco, a 55-year-old semi-retiree, bought ceramic tile grout and 7-foot wood moldings, which cost $1 each, at the Habitat ReStore at 503 Hughes St. on Wednesday. He’s a regular shopper.

“I would come more if it were open more,” Francisco said.

Danville-Pittsylvania County Habitat for Humanity hopes to expand the ReStore’s hours within the next year, said Donna Redd, development director for Habitat. Yet, the store would need more customers, volunteers and donors to be able to stay open longer.

With the help of a $13,500 grant from Danville Regional Foundation, Habitat plans for Southside Business Technology Center to conduct a feasibility study this year to see whether the community would support a ReStore expansion, Redd said.

The study would determine the ReStore’s capacity to be a self-sustaining enterprise capable of contributing 50 percent of the annual construction budget over the next three years, according to a DRF news release.

“This is another opportunity to increase the capacity of a regional organization by helping them develop a better business model in the present economic climate,” Wendi G. Everson, DRF program officer, said in a news release. “This is aligned with the foundation’s mission because Habitat for Humanity helps build assets of low-wealth residents by creating access to equity through an affordable housing program.”

The study would also include a marketing plan and could help determine whether to hire a ReStore manager at some point.

“The study will assess where we are, what we can achieve through an expansion, and provide a roadmap for how to reach our full potential,” Habitat Executive Director Marlin Yoder said in the news release.

Right now, the store is open four hours a day for two to three days a week. The store has four core volunteers and six others, including high schoolers needing to fulfill community service hours.

The materials donated to the ReStore are sold and that money goes toward buying Habitat building supplies, Redd said.

The nonprofit asks those renovating their homes or upgrading their appliances to think of the ReStore if they have gently used appliances or leftover materials. Donors get a tax deduction.

“Recycling is good and we are saving the landfill,” Redd said. “We are helping the environment as well as building homes.”

Ola Wilson sees a lot of new items coming through the store. The 38-year-old is helping to build her Habitat house and works in the ReStore to fulfill her volunteering commitment.

As a future homeowner, Wilson will come back and shop to take advantage of the low prices — like $5 for a box of tile. The store allows those with limited or modest incomes to fix and maintain their homes with materials 25 to 75 percent off retail prices in chain stores, she said.

Customers also know their money goes back into helping the community, Wilson said. Wilson plans to continue volunteering after her home is built.

“I’m excited. I really am. I never thought I would be in this place,” Wilson said. “Habitat made it possible and God — God is first.”

How to help

Danville-Pittsylvania County Habitat for Humanity ReStore503 Hughes St.

Hours: Wednesdays 10 a.m. to noon, Fridays 10 a.m. to noon, first and third Saturday each month from 10 a.m. to noon.

Donate: Appliances (5 years old or newer), cabinetry, hardwood floors and other noncommercial building materials Habitat can always use monetary donations. The construction side of the ministry needs a uni-loader to help volunteers do landscaping in hot weather. Loaders needing repair will be considered.

For more information about ReStore, visit http://www.danvillehabitat.org/. For more info on volunteering or donating, call (434) 793-3630.Children can help Habitat by building birdhouses. Kits are available. Teenagers under 16 who cannot volunteer on building sites, can volunteer in the store and warehouse.