Blog : Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, ReStore

By sarah | Apr 4, 2011 | in

Some businesses explode virtually overnight. Their products or services receive rapid, although sometimes fleeting, success seemingly overnight. 

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Dover is not one of those businesses. While their growth has been steady and impressive since their opening in 2008, it’s been accomplished through sweat equity, not shareholders’ equity. And Tom Boisvert, President of the Habitat for Humanity’s Southeast New Hampshire affiliate, wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“Our earning customers one at a time is entirely consistent with Habitat for Humanity’s philosophy,” noted Boisvert. “Our first mission is to help the community, and when we succeed at that, growth follows.” And ReStore's special discount of 15% off all ReStore purchases during April will only help that growth.

Operating out of a 10,000-square foot, two-level space on a side street behind Central Street in Dover, ReStore stocks donated cabinets, appliances, furniture, tools and building materials, both new and used. That includes doors, windows, tile, hard wood flooring, light fixtures, and yes…kitchen sinks. The donated items are then either sold to the public – at exceptionally affordable prices – or used in the construction of Habitat for Humanity Houses.  

The proceeds from the store’s merchandise sales benefit the Southeastern New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity’s mission to provide low-cost, energy-efficient housing to low-income families in our region. “It’s a labor of love,” said Doug Willey, ReStore General Manager.  

ReStore has experienced significant growth the past two years, despite some common misconceptions. “Some people think we’re a members-only club, but that’s definitely not true. We’re open to the public,” explained Willey. “We accept donations from large retailers, as well as from homeowners doing renovations who are looking to unload their existing furniture and appliances. And anyone can come in and purchase this donated merchandise, with no restrictions at all. And get tremendous deals.”  

“We’re always looking for customers to buy the materials and merchandise in our store, and for folks wanting to donate. We’ll accept furniture that’s not upholstered, and appliances that are 10 years old or less.”  

Recently the store has been aided by an uptick in home renovation projects around the area – leading to a surge in goods donated to ReStore from homeowners – as well as some significant charitable contributions from large corporations. “We recently received a large donation of new kitchen cabinets from Lowe’s, lots of wooden furniture from Days Inn, and about 15,000 linear feet of custom molding from a local mill,” Willey stated. “And we are usually the beneficiary of frequently-donated items like cabinets, appliances, and windows, which we appreciate greatly. We offer a lot more than just paint, hammers, and nails.” 

To capitalize on the region’s increase in home renovation projects, Boisvert and Willey have established a “deconstruction team”, where ReStore travels to homeowners’ residences to remove kitchens, doors, windows, and any other materials from a structure that can be reused. The items are brought to the store and sold to the public. “We charge less than a contractor would to deconstruct and remove these items,” noted Willey. “The material doesn’t end up in a landfill, and the donor receives a tax deduction for the donation.” 

Green Alliance members receive 15% off their store purchases during the month of April at ReStore, making a normally good deal that much stronger. And given the store’s emphasis on recycling and reusing furniture and appliances, their connection to sustainability and charity is palpable. “We’re about saving stuff from the landfill and providing quality merchandise at bargain prices, but we’re also about raising money to build houses for people,” said Boisvert.