SALEM - The Habitat ReStore in Salem hosted a couple of celebrations Saturday, one to recognize the need for decent housing and one to celebrate four years of helping to fund Habitat builds.
"We thank the community for all the support during this period of time," Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County Executive Director Barb Loudon said.
Besides the activities at the ReStore, Habitat volunteers were continuing to work on a home at 317 E. Fourth St., Salem, all part of the day to celebrate World Habitat Day. The ReStore sold small paper houses throughout the month of September to bring attention to World Habitat Day, with all funds going to the Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County housing ministry.
Salem Habitat ReStore volunteer LuAnn Cole checks the shelves during the store’s fourth anniversary celebration and the celebration of World Habitat Day on Saturday at the Pidgeon Road location. Customers received a 20 percent discount on one item and were treated to refreshments, along with more opportunity for bargains at a ReStore yard sale outside. Proceeds from the ReStore go to further the housing ministry of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County. Anyone is welcome to shop at the ReStore, which features donated furniture, household goods and building supplies. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
That's where 50 percent of the money goes from all sales at the ReStore, a discount retail location at 721 E. Pidgeon Road which offers donated furniture, housing goods and building materials for sale to anyone who wants to make a purchase. On Saturday, customers could purchase one item at 20 percent off, besides looking for bargains at a yard sale outside and enjoying some refreshments.
"Stuff is literally flying out the door," new ReStore Manager Chaney Nezbeth said.
The ReStore relies on donations of new or gently used furniture, some appliances, household items and building supplies to stock the shelves, picking up bigger donated items on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
"We will take the studs in the wall if you want to donate them," she said. "One of my goals is to increase sales of construction do-it-yourself components."
But she also said the ReStore is more than just a construction store - that's one of the biggest misconceptions out there, that they only sell construction materials. The store also features couches, chairs, dressers and other furniture, big and small appliances, some electronics, books, movies, lighting fixtures, housewares and other items. On Saturday, there was a full-size air hockey table on display and one customer was stuffing a bike into a trunk.
"We are constantly looking for larger pieces of furniture, appliances and mattresses," she said.
That's another misconception, that used mattresses can't be sold. She said they actually sell a lot of mattresses and they can sell anything with batting, including pillows and stuffed animals. They just have to sanitize the items and attach a tag noting the used item has been sanitized.
Nezbeth said the state of Ohio spot-checks them occasionally to make sure they're following the rules. A sanitizing solution is sprayed on the products.
She said they don't take baby items, due to the recalls, and they don't take clothing, televisions or computer equipment. They do a certain amount of screening and try to get items from smoke-free homes. She said 90 percent of the items that come into the store are either sold at the ReStore, donated to Goodwill or Second Blessing or dismantled for the parts. Less than 10 percent goes into a dumpster. They also test all electronics before putting them on the floor.
She said it's probably best to call if debating whether to donate an item or if an item is too big to transport. Donations are accepted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The ReStore phone number is 330-337-4808.
Nezbeth and a part-time truck driver are the only paid employees of the ReStore. All the rest are volunteers, including some Salem High School OWE program students and Kent State University honor students. Families who are having homes built by Habitat for Humanity also volunteer at the ReStore, with the hours counting toward their required sweat equity.
Nezbeth said they have 15 to 20 volunteers working per week, but they definitely need more.
Items are priced at about 35 percent of the retail price. She referred to the ReStore as a "high-end thrift store."
"We want to do justice and honor the donation," she said.
Anyone is welcome to shop at the ReStore, which is open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
"There really is something here for everyone," she said.