Home remodelers to relish new Haywood Habitat thrift storeWritten by Becky Johnson
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Remodelers who don’t want to send their old kitchen cabinets, bathroom sinks or screen doors to the dump will soon have a place to send unwanted wares that seem too good to throw out.
Haywood Habitat for Humanity is opening a ReStore shop in Waynesville that will have all the usual trappings of a thrift store — dishes, lamps, sofas, coffee makers and the like — but will also have an inventory of used building materials.
“So if someone takes their kitchen cabinets out, rather than taking them to the landfill, we can put them in our store sell them,” said Kent Stewart, the ReStore manager and past-president of Haywood Habitat. “The proceeds go to building more houses.”
Haywood Habitat builds two homes a year on average for needy families. The hope is that the ReStore will raise enough money within a couple years completely fund a new home, Stewart said. Some donated items may even find their way into a Habitat house.
Thrift stores catering to remodelers have become a signature of Habitat for Humanity groups across the country. Bargain hunters with remodeling jobs of their own can repurpose the cast-off materials from someone else’s home renovation.
“The idea of buying a used sink, particularly if you are putting it in your shed or workshop, would be preferable to going to Lowe’s and having to spend $100,” Stewart said.
The Haywood Habitat chapter has toyed with the idea of such a thrift store for nearly a decade.
“For years we kicked it back and forth like a volleyball. It was one of those things that was a good idea but no one wanted to do the work to make it happen,” Stewart said. “Somebody finally said ‘OK you go do it.’”
Few would be better suited than Stewart to run such a store. As the former owner of the downtown Waynesville Book Company, Stewart is versed in retail business management. After selling the bookstore, Stewart went to work at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse in Waynesville for eight years, becoming intimately familiar with building trades and materials.
Stewart and his fellow Habitat board members spent months developing a business plan a year ago and are now seeing the vision become a reality.
The store won’t open until the spring, but is currently seeking donations to fill it up with things to sell. For those with large items unable to haul them to the store, the Habitat folks can do pick ups.
Stewart hopes the site won’t become a dumping ground for junk. He hopes people won’t offload their construction debris and call it a donation, because that just means Habitat volunteers will bear the burden of carting it to the landfill.
The new store will serve the dual benefit of filling a vacant store space downtown. Located at the corner of Montgomery and Miller streets across from the Sweet Onion restaurant and the public town parking lot, the space was formerly the basement of the Furniture Village, or before that the old Belk’s department store.