On the job a matter of a few weeks, Kris Donald was just catching her breath when she sat down for an interview.
"It's hard work," she sighed. "I've moved a million cabinets since I started three weeks ago. And I go home exhausted, but I go home feeling good about what I'm doing."
Kris is floor supervisor for the Portland ReStore. She's responsible for the flow of merchandise as it comes off the dock and out onto the floor. Recasting displays several times over the course of a day keeps her full workout mode.
Naturally this isn't her first venture into retail. She's been working retail for 26 years.
"Most of my jobs over the past 18 years have been in wellness, but I've also done everything from stocking clerk to managing an entire store, and all the jobs in between specifically in retail," she stated.
That includes a short stint working at Portland's Buck Stove Palace. (Kris claims the "museum of oddities" has some similarities to The ReStore.)
What drives Kris is helping people. What drove Kris to The ReStore is being a part of a team that helps people.
"I see myself helping people get homes - that's first and foremost. That's huge! We all need a home," she said. "I'm also helping people find affordable items that they need, and I'm helping keep things out of the landfill."
Working with volunteers to discover and develop their skills is another way Kris is helping people at The ReStore. Together Kris hopes to make the Portland ReStore the most clean, well-presented, organized and 'shopable' resale store ever.
"That's a lofty goal, I know," she said. "But we have the people. This can happen. It's a great organization; it's a great cause. There's no reason for me not to reach for the stars."
From the beginning there was music
Growing up in Eugene, Kris learned to love music early in life.
"It came naturally to me," she said. "I sat down at a piano at the neighbor's house and picked out a song off the radio when I was four. And my parents went, 'Well, that's interesting. We should probably get this kid some piano lessons.'"
From grade school through high school Kris was in one choir or another. Senior year her jazz choir took top place in their division at a national competition in Orlando, Florida.
After making the move to Portland about eight years ago, Kris said she feels more at home here than she ever felt in Eugene. She says it's because there are so many different types of people living in Portland. She values that.
Music is still very big in her life. She and her new husband, ReStore driver John Lassen, sing together informally and they also recently performed for an audience of volunteers at the Oregon Country Fair - an annual event where Kris and John first met cooking in the kitchen 12 years ago. Kris convinced John to record the song played as she walked down the aisle at their wedding held just weeks ago at Humbug Mountain. She had selected "That's What's Up," originally performed by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and covered by Lennon and Maisy.
"They are a couple of sisters and they-at the time-were I guess 10 and 16," Kris explained. "I heard it and the music and the lyrics spoke to me about our relationship because we've known each other just so long and we've been best friends."
GET TO KNOW KRIS
- She loves, loves, loves to cook, especially Mediterranean food. ("I have so many spices, it's crazy! I'll have to admit I'm kind of a food hoarder!")
- Her 4-H group was called the Crafty Cookers and Swinging Sewers. ("It was two boys and two girls. I learned boys could cook and sew, also.")
- Kris likes making jewelry, and made John a necklace a couple of weeks after they got together. ("He just never takes it off, he loves it so much.") She also made all her bridesmaids' jewelry to match her own.
- Her dad gave her the banjo he made when she was a little girl. ("Some day I'll learn to play.")
- Chili, Kris's 7-year old dog, is a border collie/pit mix - she thinks. ("Chilidog is her actual name, although she goes by Noodles.")
- Kris's core value: "It's really important to me to be kind whenever possible."
Get to know Kris Donald the next time you stop in at the Portland ReStore.