Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore reopens its doors

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore has reopened in Knoxville.

The home goods and home improvement store on Downtown West Boulevard has been closed since mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare visited the reopened store, where business was brisk.

Habitat’s ReStore is actually several stores in one: There are home improvement goods, clothing goods as well as new and gently used furniture, appliances and more.

It’s a profit center for Habitat for Humanity; the nonprofit is glad to have doors open again.

Seth Donly hefted a new mattress into the bed of his pickup truck Wednesday at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. The Huerta family took advantage of bargain prices and purchased a mattress and box spring set.

“We have been driving by seeing if it was going to be open or not. It is finally open,” Patricia Huerta said.

“Oh, I think it’s fantastic. It’s a wonderful service. I didn’t know it was here for the longest time. Now I’m down here about once a week, really,” Seth Donly, a shopper, said.

Habitat’s ReStore sells new and gently used building materials, there’s also furniture,  appliances, as well as new and gently used clothing. Items donated to the ReStore get a chance at a second life rather than being taken to a landfill.

“We’ve got a lot of great dedicated business donors in our community who donate new things. They might be clearance or close out,” April Timko, of Knoxville Habitat for Humanity, said. “Last night, we received a great donation from Brown Squirrel of mattresses and recliners.”

Profits from merchandise sales go back into supporting Habitat for Humanity’s main purpose.

That mission is building affordable homes to families in need.

Last month, WATE 6 On Your Side reported home construction continued during the pandemic. But — due to the virus — there are no volunteers. For the time being, Habitat staff members will being doing the work of building homes.

“Well, the ReStore helps cover a great deal of the administrative costs of our ministry. So, that allows the donated dollars of our ministry to go directly toward serving the families,” Timko said.

Since reopening, there are limited hours and a maximum of 50 shoppers are allowed at one time. Shopping carts are regularly sanitized; counter tops and credit card terminals are cleaned between transactions.

“Our staff and volunteers coming in are wearing masks. If we are loading or touching items, we have our gloves on. We keep all of the donations coming in in the back until they are processed and sanitized,” Sandy Savage, ReStore manager, said.

Outside, the Huerta family is pleased the ReStore is back in business.

“We try to come in as often as we can because they have a lot of new things coming in everyday,” Patricia Huerta said.

For the time being, store hours for the ReStore have been shortened: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Business supporters that donate to the ReStore include many of Knoxville’s best furniture stories, kitchen and bath stores, building supply companies and clothing retailers.

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