It’s a good thing that Warehouse Supervisor Amy Dobesh is a hands-on person. Many times her team at the Beaverton ReStore has processed over 100 donation drop offs in a single day.
“I knew it was going to be fast-paced and in the trenches, helping out every day,” she said, unfazed. “Ideally there’s someone on hand, but sometimes it’s just you, and you make it work.”
A former Bay Area resident, Amy grew up volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as well as other non-profits that promote safe and affordable housing.
“It’s a really important cause to me, and I’m very excited to be working for Habitat,” she added.”I read recently that San Francisco is the most expensive place to live, it beats out New York. Of course, Portland is changing, too—it’s changed a lot in the six years that I’ve lived here…in that amount of time, by far.”
Amy has been with the ReStore for six months, but she has more than five years of retail experience, mostly acquired while working at a Sacramento costume and gift shop housed in a three-story historic building. For four years she volunteered at Portland’s Scrap store.
“It’s basically an arts and crafts version of what we do, so I made a lot of great friends in the crafting community that way,” Amy said. “I like knowing how things work, I like knowing the story of things.”
THE STORY OF THINGS
When asked, Amy says her favorite part of the job is hearing the “story of things” brought to the ReStore, like the one about a vintage Singer sewing machine.
“It was a woman’s great, great grandmothers. She wrote the story of it and put it in the drawer,” Amy recalled. “It was the late 1800s from a San Francisco textile factory…It had amazing molding to it. It was like the nicest table I’ve seen. The machine was still intact, and it came with that lovely story of all the generations and the family.”
The same day that sewing machine was wheeled out onto the ReStore sales floor, it went home with a shopper who fell in love.
“I think that’s the really fun thing,” Amy said. “You see items come and leave the same day and someone so excited has a plan for it.”
How do you put a price on that?
Well, it takes a bit of brainstorming, that’s for sure. When an item is donated, staff and volunteers research online market value for similar makes and models.
“You kind of get to know the styles and stamps of different manufacturers, and a few of our employees [and volunteers] are really knowledgeable. We all have different expertise,” Amy said.
Besides unloading, pricing and getting donations quickly out on the sales floor, there are other activities in the warehouse that build revenue for Habitat for Humanity ReStores, like metal recycling and paint processing.
To keep things running smoothly, ReStore supervisors like Amy rely heavily on volunteers. There are usually between 5 and 10 volunteers working daily at each ReStore. They are cashiering, pricing, receiving and merchandising donations, metal recycling and paint processing, assisting donation pickups or helping out in a hundred different valuable ways, including teaming up with ReStore Salvage Service to harvest cabinets.
“We like to check to see if people have a particular interest,” said Amy. But she’ll be the first to tell you, whatever that interest is, there’s a place for you at the ReStore.
OFF THE CLOCK
When Amy Dobesh is not orchestrating warehouse activity at the Beaverton ReStore, she’ll be exploring other challenging pursuits like:
Rockhounding. “Some people like fishing, I like climbing and finding rocks. We have a lot of jasper and agates in Oregon.”
Hiking. A Mazama member for the past 4 years, Amy says she is particularly proud of her 10-hour Mother’s Day hike to the summit of Mount St. Helens. “But I prefer a nice standard trail around Mt. Hood.” Less gear, more exploring.
Learning lapidary. “The Mt. Hood Rock Club has a lapidary shop so I’m learning how to cut rocks…and I do some metalsmithing, making simple jewelry. I love creative projects.”
Swimming to Crater Lake’s Wizard Island. This is on Amy’s bucket list, but if you know Amy, you know it’s practically a done deal!
Become a ReStore volunteer
Remodeling? We do deconstruction
Donate: Schedule a pickup online