It's sounds romantically trendy to house a Habitat ReStore in an old abandoned winery, but the way Brieana Weaver tells it, it was way more shabby than chic.
There was no electricity, no running water, no plumbing, just "bare bones" and a lot of flashlights at the Habitat ReStore in Fresno where Brieana first began volunteering.
But Brieana's history with Habitat actually began on her college campus in Dallas where she helped to build a home right on the school grounds. Later as a restaurant bartender in Fresno, she looked to fill her free daytime hours in a more positive way and once again turned to Habitat. She was directed to the local ReStore.
Brieana had never even heard of the ReStore before, but ever the organizer, she liked what she saw and pitched right in - even without indoor plumbing! After three months of volunteering, she was hired on and worked her way to assistant manager and then manager. Of course, by then, the store had moved into a more modern building with actual electricity and running water.
A couple of years later a job interview brought Brieana and husband Brandon north to Eugene. They were searching for a quality of life they couldn't find in Fresno. But Eugene wasn't the right fit for the couple, either. So on a whim, they drove up to take a look at Portland and fell in love with the city.
While Brieana was searching for a job here, she sought out the Habitat ReStore, then on SE Morrison Street, and began to volunteer a few days each week. Within a month, she was offered the job of ReStore business coordinator, a position she held for two years before returning to retail operations in 2014 as manager of the Washington County ReStore.
"I've done every different position in The ReStore within the two affiliates," she proudly admits.
At the Washington County ReStore, Brieana manages a staff of 10 employees-nine full and part time employees, and one from Oregon's Jobs Plus work program. In 2016, staff worked closely with 571 outstanding volunteers who gave more than 21,400 hours to create and maintain a fast-paced and successful store operation. However, there's always room for improvement.
"I was just geeking out on some numbers here, and housewares, per square foot, is our most profitable department," Brieana shared. "It would be really great if people thought about us more for housewares because it goes a long way for us. We get a lot of value for Habitat for it."
Next week Brieana Weaver will hand over the reins to new WCR manager, Raina Mills. She will take on a fresh challenge: manager of the new Gresham ReStore.
The move was a difficult decision for Brieana. She loves the staff, volunteer and donor community that has built up around and within the Washington County ReStore. But the pull to shorten her commute and spend more time with her family, including 3-year-old Temperance and 8-month old Sebastian, plus the lure of building something new, ultimately won out.
"I'm looking forward to creating it from the ground up," Brieana explained.
She's working closely with Retail Director Shel Mae Reinwald to develop in-store logistics and brainstorm new approaches, making things right and streamlined before the 27,000 square-foot Gresham ReStore doors open (soon).
"You know each store is different, and it has a lot to do with the communities they are in," said Brieana. "I'm looking forward to getting to know the [Gresham] community. It will be a learning experience, I'm sure, but I'm going in open-minded--kind of get know them and see what the needs are out there, and seeing how to position The ReStore to best serve the community and to also know how to maximize the impact the ReStore has [there]."
WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT BRIEANA WEAVER:
- She grew up in Spokane and Arizona, and has also lived in Seattle and Hawaii, as well as Dallas , California...and Oregon.
- Her favorite Oregon city: Astoria (MUST SEES: lunch at Bowpicker; new brewery: Buoy Beer Company; antique and salvage shops; historic houses)
- Brieana and Brandon love to remodel their home.( RECENT CAVEAT: Never underestimate the importance of a level floor when tiling.)
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