Posted Saturday, November 3, 2018 10:23 pm
By COLBY DENTON
As the year nears its close, Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland ReStore is celebrating not only another year gone by, but also its 14th year of helping the people of Cleveland.
This year, as in previous ones, the Habitat ReStore is hosting an anniversary sale, which applies to all items within the store and lasts a week.
Beginning as a small operation in downtown Cleveland, ReStore moved to its current space in 2004, after some of its volunteers who are architects began inspecting the current building to determine its suitability.
“This is a culmination of something that started out very small and has grown into what you now see,” Habitat executive director Tammy Johnson said.
The ReStore is commemorating the anniversary by hosting a massive sale starting on Monday and running until Nov. 10.
ReStore manager Dave Williams plans to have a different sale each day, which requires people to come into the location to discover what the next day’s deal is. The last day of the sale on Nov. 10 will feature a 25 percent discount off everything in the store, which includes new items as well as those gently used.
A large portion of money Habitat uses for its home builds comes from the ReStore, along with donations, grants, etc. The current location is the second time the store has moved since opening in 2004.
Williams described the first location as a “one-door operation,” without a loading dock or even garage doors to easily bring furniture into. He states the current location off Grove Avenue is a massive improvement.
“The original location almost looked like a modular-type home, it being only maybe 50-feet long and 20-feet wide,” Williams explained.
From this spot, Habitat moved down to its second location at Five Points near the Museum Center, where it stayed for several years before moving to its current location.
Because of the former theater’s slanted floors, Habitat used leftover road construction materials that would have been thrown out to level its floors before covering them with concrete as we see today. Williams described this as community recycling.
As a testament to the good relationships Habitat builds in communities, its board of directors has been given permission by the Five Point location’s current owners to actually store Habitat’s overflow items at this former storefront.
Johnson describes this as a blessing, as they are now bringing in more donations than they have room for.
“The community just keeps jumping in. Our board is so active, and whenever we come to them with a need, they will roll up their sleeves, jump in and help us solve the problem,” Johnson said.
The sales from the ReStore account for around 25-30 percent of building funds, a fact Williams stresses as clear evidence of the store’s key role in Habitat.
At the moment, Habitat has built 135 homes since its inception. Each time a home is built, the company raises approximately $75,000, but with land development and other smaller costs factored in, the amount the ReStore raises helps balance out the expenditure incredibly well.
Johnson said she and her employees all have a passion for what they do. They don’t work at Habitat for the money, but for the people they help.
“We’re changing lives and generations of lives,” Johnson said. “I feel like it’s very biblical to help others who want to help themselves and give ‘a hand up, not a hand out.’”
This rings true for all Habitat homeowners, as they must complete a specific number of “sweaty equity” hours working on their homes. They also pay rent and mortgages all while taking budgeting and good neighbor classes.
Some homeowners have seen entire generations affected by Habitat’s works, such as Tami Croft, who was the recipient of Habitat home No. 50. Her home has not only affected herself, but also her daughter and granddaughter as well.
Williams calls this the “cycle of blessings,” which shows how the community donates items to Habitat which are then sold and the money is used to provide homes for people who then turn around and work for Habitat or at least discuss how the organization has affected their lives. He added how the cycle of blessings is a self sustaining system that truly benefits its region no matter where it is.
Williams and Johnson encourage all of Cleveland to come see what they have to offer. Your purchase will not only be at a discount during the sale, but it will also go towards benefitting your community overall.
Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Sunday, and is located at 300 Grove Ave. It can be reached at 423-473-4610.