Donated couches, kitchen tables and dressers found a new home at the corner of Sixth Street and 23rd Avenue in Gainesville.
Alachua Habitat for Humanity’s donation-driven, home store, known as the ReStore, moved from 2317 SW 13th St. to 2301 NW Sixth St. to expand the reach of its affordable housing mission to East Gainesville.
“The ReStore is very much in line with Habitat’s mission to provide all affordable housing, and it does that by providing families with an opportunity for families to furnish and maintain their houses at affordable prices,” Katherine Gaines, the organization’s outreach coordinator said. “And the revenue from the store is also utilized to fund our affordable housing commission.”
The ReStore closed its doors on Sept. 4 as it prepared to relocate. This relocation placed it farther from UF’s campus, but it’s now more accessible to the Gainesville community, Gaines, said. Habitat began the reopening with a soft opening on Sept. 28, but it plans to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 5 at 9 a.m. to officially welcome the store to its new home.
On that same day, Habitat’s home sweet home event, which Gaines described as an elevated bake sale, will raise money for the organization and its mission.
With the new location at this intersection, Habitat hopes to promote walk-ins as customers shop at the surrounding consignment stores, including Outreach Thrift Store and Goodwill Thrift Store, Clarissa Ament, the ReStore’s front-end team leader, said. She credits the influx of new shoppers to this new location.
“We are in what they call a thrift store loop … We are at a four-way stop, which generates a lot of traffic,” Ament said. “It’s right here on a corner. It’s visible.”
Ward’s Supermarket, a local family-owned grocery store, sits across the street and also generates a lot of foot traffic to the ReStore, Gaines said. Not only is the location preferable, she said, but the parking lot is larger and the building itself has enough space for employees to have their own offices.
“This relocation is something that the board of directors and staff have been hoping for, for a number of years now actually,” Gaines said. “The old location only had 11 parking spaces.”
Before the soft opening in September, ReStore employees and volunteers moved the store’s inventory using the donation pick-up trucks, she said. The inventory consists of items like appliances, building materials, home furnishings, books and other household items, which are all acquired through individual or corporate donations.
Glassware, lamps and serving platters line the shelves in the ReStore. Couches, chairs and dining room tables fill the open space and form aisles in the store’s center.
Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., customers can browse the store for their home needs. On Tuesdays, the ReStore hosts a senior and veteran’s discount. Additionally, students receive 20% off their purchases on Thursdays, Ament said.
Donated items undergo a pricing formula before being placed on the floor to be sold, Ament said. So employees search an item online, find the lowest price listed on sites like eBay, reduce that price by half and continue to lower the price based on the condition of the donation.
Although the new location is much busier, sales have remained roughly the same since the soft opening, Gaines said. Habitat did not provide the figures for ReStore sales.
“Given that we just moved, it’s really good news that we were able to stay pretty steady with those sales coming in,” Gaines said. “We are very grateful for the community still supporting us and supporting the ReStore despite the relocation.”
The non-profit predicts more sales in the future, which can help fund its vision: a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
The new location provides more space for donated inventory, yet Habitat’s construction department looks to create more square footage to house more donations. The department is finishing the design for an addition to the building, Gaines said. The construction date is not set.
Besides providing families and students with a lower-cost option to furnish their living spaces, the ReStore helps the community be eco-friendly.
Each dollar spent at the ReStore equates to roughly 1 ½ pounds of waste diverted from the waste stream, Gaines said. Habitat’s retail store provides people with an opportunity to donate their items to be recycled instead of thrown away and sent to landfills.
With the ReStore relocated and open, Habitat is eager to serve the community.
For more information about how to shop or donate, visit ReStore’s website.
Emma Behrmann is a contributing writer for The Alligator. Follow her on Twitter at @emmabehrmann
Emma is a second-year journalism and political science major with a minor in Spanish. She reports on University news for The Alligator. Her second home is the gym. When she’s not writing she’s either deadlifting, squatting or benching.