Habitat for Humanity Adds Retail with ReStore
Writer / Cindy Argentine Photography // Submitted
Habitat for Humanity of Boone County has opened a ReStore in Zionsville. As the name suggests, the store resells donated home furnishings and building supplies. Revenue from these sales supports the organization’s mission of building homes for lower-income families in Boone County.
On December 7, the day of the grand opening, the store showcased casual and contemporary dining sets, sleigh beds, daybeds and a French-style armoire the staff dubbed their “Beauty and the Beast” piece. There were also couches, sectionals, chairs, game tables, end tables, artwork, building supplies, tools, kitchen cabinets, sinks, light fixtures, washers, dryers, ranges, ovens and holiday décor.
Executive Director Liz Qua pointed out a few other fun finds tucked in corners of the store. “These new, soft-close drawers would be great in a garage or mudroom. And we have some gorgeous solid wood doors!”
Relying on donated goods creates a challenging business model. As CFO Jodi Gietl says, “We are at the mercy of donations, but so far, we’ve been blessed. What has come in has been phenomenal.”
Qua says that in addition to donations, they also need shoppers and volunteers to make the whole equation work. With only four paid employees on staff, Habitat of Boone County relies on the 1,000 community members who volunteer with them each year. Volunteer Coordinator Amy Hartwig schedules those individuals as often or as little as they want. Many summer volunteers are working at the ReStore during the winter as construction pauses.
Opening the ReStore fulfills a dream that began forming years ago. The staff and board of directors have been seeking a new funding stream in order to build more houses. They hope the ReStore will bring in $1,500 per business day toward that goal. That volume would allow them to fund a fourth home some years, adding to the three they typically build each year. “Every item that walks out the door takes us one step closer to building a new home in Boone County,” says Gietl.
Approximately 60 percent of Habitat affiliates have ReStores associated with them. There are several others in Indiana, including stores in Indianapolis and Avon. The local board sensed a store might work well in Boone County too. That was confirmed when Board Member Mike Thompson did a feasibility study as part of his graduate studies in nonprofit administration. He did extensive research for this specific project and identified the Michigan Road corridor as the best potential location.
Other board members have a similar passion for the organization. ReStore Manager Natalee Baker was lured back to full-time work by the opportunity. She had put a full-time retail career on hold while raising her young children. But through her service on the board of directors, she was aware of the coming ReStore and decided to accept the manager position. “Here, I’m making money for the greater good,” she says. Board President Kevin Schmidt echoes her enthusiasm: “Every item donated translates to dollars given back to our county.”
The store is located in a warehouse off of 106th Street at 10650 Andrade Dr. It accepts donations Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alternatively, a staff person or volunteer will come pick up a donation with the ReStore truck. People may call the office at 317-344-3033 to arrange a pickup. The store is open for shopping on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Habitat for Humanity of Boone County builds new homes for qualified applicants each year. The homeowners work alongside volunteers and Habitat staff to build their houses. For information about how to apply for a home or to volunteer with the organization, visit boonehabitat.org.