The Habitat ReStore program started in the early 90’s with a couple of stores down in Texas. Since then it’s grown, kind of haphazardly, into the nation’s largest network of building material reuse centers. And yet, so many folks have never even heard of us!
However, I think we are on the brink of seeing a major shift in national awareness of our work. Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), recognizing the ReStores’ huge potential as an ongoing funding source for its Habitat affiliates, is increasing the support it provides to ReStores across the country. In fact, over the last year, HFHI put together a team to help organize and support stores nationwide, implemented a national ReStore Directors’ work group to develop resources to help ReStores succeed, and recently hired the first-ever national Senior Director of ReStore Support.
ReStores also serve their communities by keeping usable materials out of landfills, contributing to the sustainability and waste reduction efforts gaining ground nationally. HFH is in a wonderful position to use its name to increase waste reduction while providing quality products at low cost to our customers.
What this means for ReStores, and for us here in the Portland and Vancouver Metropolitan areas, is national recognition, training and coordination. What it means for our shoppers is more quality donations due to access to more businesses and corporations, and even more stores.
At present, there are over 650 ReStores nationwide, with stores in every state. Here in Oregon we have 17 stores, and in Washington there are 15. With national support and advertising, I know we can expand even more and make the ReStores a household name.
Becoming a household name, a name recognized as widely as the Habitat name, would enable our ReStores to raise even more funds for Habitat homebuilding, keep even more usable materials out of landfills, and provide more products at low cost to our customers.
So hold on folks, ReStores are going to explode onto the national scene in a big way over the next few years. What fun!