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ReStore gets more floor space

Habitat shop moves to new location

POSTED: March 5, 2013 12:38 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Habitat for Humanity of Hall County ReStore customer Angelica Tabor checks a piece of wood flooring for a remodeling job she is working on.

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Johnny Valentine knows a bargain when he sees one.

He said shopping at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore can make him feel a little nostalgic at times because he never knows what he might find in the bins and aisles.

He holds up a powerful flashlight and remarks about its price and condition. As the owner of a solar panel installation business, he frequents the store looking for inexpensive building materials and tools.

“Sometimes you can find some really great stuff,” Valentine said as he reached into a clear plastic bin and held up a metal fitting. “Like this find, a Myers hub. It’s a fitting that no one knows what it’s for but it’s a $12 fitting. This place is great.”

After outgrowing its old home on Skelton Road in Gainesville, ReStore has moved just a short drive away at the former Hall County Elections Office at 2287 Browns Bridge Road.

Mary Biegler, store manager, said the move was made because the old free-standing store didn’t have enough floor space to show off what merchandise was available.

The new location increased the store’s floor space by 40 percent but provides very little space for storage. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing since shoppers can’t see available items in storage.

“Now the theory is ‘on the floor, out the door,’” Assistant Director Alison McElvery said.

Biegler said she thinks being able to display all the items that are available will help increase sales and keep things moving through the store.

“It keeps our customers interested in coming back,” Biegler said. “They’re not interested in seeing the same tired merchandise week after week. And it’s also helping us to price at a level where they know ‘I need to purchase this right now because it might not be here tomorrow.’”

The store moved early last week. It was closed for three days during the move.

Bruce Cash, a regular customer who once worked at the store, said he was shocked by the new building’s size.
“I didn’t expect it to be as big as it is; it’ll be good for the store,” Cash said.

Biegler said the old store wasn’t exactly “consumer friendly,” so she had to think about the ways people think while they shop as she decided how to set up the new location.

“For me that meant a lot more organization,” Biegler said. “That meant putting things in groups so if someone is looking for a dresser, here they are. We set up little vignettes so people can see how everything will look in their house.”

The store sells a wide range of items, including new and used building supplies, appliances, home decor and even jewelry. All of the items are donated by individuals or through corporate sponsorships. All the proceeds go to basic operations and to fund the nonprofit’s mission of building homes for people in need.

The new store will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Friday to celebrate.

McElvery said she’s thankful for the volunteers who make the Habitat program a success. She said while the volunteers who help to build the houses are appreciated, the store could use a little more help.

“If there were some retired people who had a trade and were looking to work on things, we have several things in the store that could keep them busy,” McElvery said.

Biegler said it’s rewarding to work in the store and know that every sale is going to ultimately help someone pick themselves up.

“It’s about building houses,” Biegler said. “But it’s also about building communities and about building up people in need.”


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