At Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores, business is booming –


This is a showroom at ReStore. Habitat for Humanity opens its third ReStore in the area. The home improvement center offers deep discounts on appliances, furniture, cabinetry and other building materials and supplies with all profit going to Habitat’s building programs. (Baltimore Sun photo by Joe Soriero / August 22, 2011)

By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

6:21 a.m. EDT, August 23, 2011

Norma Thompson spent much of Monday dusting, polishing and sprucing up items that will fill a soon-to-open home improvement store in Halethorpe. The hours she volunteers with Habitat for Humanity’s newest ReStore will help this Baltimore grandmother, who works as a housekeeper at a downtown hotel, earn a home of her own.

Each prospective homeowner must provide Habitat volunteer hours, and Thompson is doing just that at the nonprofit organization’s third ReStore in the metropolitan area. She has her eye on several items that will go on sale Saturday, when the discount center opens in a Halethorpe business park. She is picturing them in the East Baltimore townhouse that she hopes will be her home sometime next year.

“I love making all this stuff look new and pretty,” said Thompson, 60.

ReStores, which number more than 700 nationwide, sell new, surplus or gently used appliances, furniture, cabinets, flooring and building materials and turn the profits over to Habitat’s building projects. Mike Mitchell, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, said the stores are building homes and saving the environment by keeping many usable items from going into a landfill.

“Every store helps us to address the housing crisis,” he said. “This really is social enterprise at its best.”

In 2008, the two metropolitan outlets combined to donate $1.2 million to Habitat, said Mark Bendann, chief operating officer for the local Habitat.


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