Shel Mae Reinwald, the new Portland ReStore Manager, is adding her savvy retailer’s touch to every corner of the store. If you haven’t visited us lately, come in and take a look around. Shel’s influence is visible the moment you walk up the steps and we think you’ll like what you see. In a recent interview, Shel talks about her experience and why she has eagerly taken on the challenge of managing the ReStore.
Q. What do you want people to know about your background that helps them understand why we’re so excited to have you as our new ReStore manager?
A. For the last 12 years I worked for Global Exchange, a social justice human rights non profit based in San Francisco. With Global Exchange, I designed and managed their flagship Fair Trade Retail Store, worked with communities in developing nations to produce more marketable crafts, and developed new retail outlets for our Fair Trade stores. In the last 7 years I opened 3 new stores for Global Exchange. What I enjoyed the most was retail layout and display, and I think those are skills that work well for the ReStore. I also love working with diverse groups of people and being a hands-on leader.
Q. Why did you want to work for the ReStore?
A. Over time, I became more and more conscious of the impact that newly made goods were having on our planet. I was very influenced by “The Story of Stuff”, an animated short about waste in the United States and decided that I wanted to commit to using and promoting reuse as a lifestyle choice. When my roommate saw the Manager position for the ReStore, she said “this is the perfect job for you!” I couldn’t agree more.
Q. When you tell people about your new job, how do you describe the ReStore and what you do?
A. I’m a tireless promoter of the ReStore. My friends and family are also very committed to the reduce/reuse/ recycle lifestyle, and were very exited for me when I got the job. I talk a lot about the Restore’s connection to Habitat for Humanity and the great deals that we offer here; and of course how important I feel the work is to my overall beliefs and goals.
Q. There’s already more lighting, a fresh coat of paint and additional signage in the store. What other changes can we expect to see over the next few months?
A. I’m having a great time directing changes in the ReStore. My goal is to make the store pleasant and informative for customers, to make it easy to find things, and to make sure that we have quality product to offer. Right now, we are working on making certain that items are priced and well marked, and are planning a new information center in the front of the store to help customers and donors understand our relationship with our local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and how shopping and donating at the ReStore keep items from going into the landfill. My staff and volunteer crews have been extremely supportive during the changes, and I’m grateful everyday for them.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about the ReStore?
A. I am thrilled to be working in the reuse business.
Q. What has surprised you the most?
A. The volume of really great donations that we get in everyday, and the commitment of our clientele to reuse. Also, the pure volume of sales! Wow!
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. I love to sing (and I’m not bad!), I am an avid urban farmer, I have a very close relationship with my bicycle, and I paint and create glass mosaics. I love to hike with my husband and our dog, Meka. Life is good.