A customer peruses just one area of the tidy 25,000-square-foot Habitat ReStore on Larkin Avenue south of Jefferson Street in Joliet, Ill. | Jan Larsen~for Sun-Times Media
JOLIET — They’re called ReStores, they’re all over the nation and now Joliet can claim its own at 200 S. Larkin Ave.
It’s the ultimate in recycling, plus a cost-effective way to improve or furnish homes — and a major fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
More than 100 donors helped this remarkable ReStore become a reality by renovating a white elephant — the old Crescent Electric Supply Co. — and stocking it with new appliances, flooring, lighting, plumbing fixtures, used furniture and more.
Donors, government officials, civic leaders and volunteers attended a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.
But there were the shoppers, too, perusing tidy aisles of an amazing variety of goods in 25,000 square feet of warehousing and sales rooms. The Will County Habitat for Humanity ReStore hosted a “quiet” opening the past two weeks and has already been bombarded with people who want to buy — and people who want to give.
“We’ve been collecting (goods) since March,” said ReStore Manager Dan Dunn, who formerly operated the Sandwich Shoppe in downtown Joliet. “Each of our first two weekends we made $3,500.”
“ReStores save millions of tons from landfills,” said Executive Director Annette Leck, who worked furiously for about a year to see the store complete. “Our motto is: Invest in your community: shop, donate, volunteer.”
Habitat has a contract to rent the building for four years and offices have moved to remodeled spaces in front.
Habitat volunteers build decent, affordable homes for low-income families. “The ReStore is a major step for our local group that has already built 60 homes since its founding in 1988,” said Leck.