Habitat for Humanity ReStore looking forward to good year

Jodi
Jodi Schellenberg
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After a great year in 2013, Habitat for Humanity is looking forward to more good things in 2014.

“The ReStore in Prince Albert has actually done exceptionally well,” Habitat ReStore manager Mark Bencze said. “We actually have achieved for our size and demographic size, the highest sales of any store in Canada in 2013.

“It has been very rewarding but we are extremely thankful to the staff and volunteers who really worked hard to get the store organized and serve the customers who have been coming in,” he added. “Overall it has been an outstanding year.”

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that was founded to help people who are financially challenged or cannot afford to purchase a home on their own.

“To do that, of course, they have to volunteer for a certain number of hours to qualify for their housing and once they meet the criteria and get all the volunteer hours in they go through a process where they are interviewed and screened to qualify for the house,” Bencze said. “Where the ReStore comes in is they were designed as a way to raise fund to help build these houses because the houses are built mainly on donations.

“Habitat for Humanity doesn’t have a line of credit to build spec homes, per say,” he added. “We have to rely on donations in kind from contractors and developers to help us get foundations built.”

The ReStore, which is located on Marquis Road, is a means and way to purchase the materials and items needed to build the houses for people who need them, he explained.

They receive many different types of donations -- there are no set items they ask for.

“That's the interesting part of the store is we don't have a program where we get supplies or inventory we can pick and chose from,” Bencze said. “We rely on a lot of donations from private people.

“We get donations from contractors who are doing renovations and phone us to as if we want lumber and sinks and plywood,” he said. “We get donations of furniture from private individuals. We get everything and anything from furniture to lumber to plumbing supplies, you name it.”

If people are unable to bring their donations to the store due to lack of vehicle or time, Bencze said that is not a problem.

“We are very open to donations and do pick ups and can make it convenient for people who can't get it here,” Bencze said. “It is amazing what comes through this door ... it surprises even me the stuff that comes through.”

Through Habitat National, they also receive donations from All-Weather Windows and Doors and Home Depot through national programs.

“We get a lot of surplus new merchandise from Home Depot and All-weather Windows and Doors,” Bencze said. “We have other businesses that drop off surplus items -- it comes from a lot of different places, it really does.”

Because of the surplus merchandise, they have a lot of new and used items in the store. Bencze hopes this will continue in the future.

“We are looking for another good year,” Bencze said. “We are starting to make a lot of inroads and relationships with more contractors and businesses. We are constantly getting more stuff in.

“As our reputation spreads, we are seeing more home owners come in who are renovating and using us as their first stop for stuff, which is becoming very exciting,” he added. “What is the most exciting is we have several new builds planned for the year and as long as the ReStore continues to be successful it will help us be successful in our mandate of building houses.”

If the ReStore continues doing well, Habitat can help even more people.

“The better the ReStore does, the more building projects we can offer to families in Prince Albert and surrounding communities and that is really what it is all about,” Bencze said. “We are here and have a large selection.”  

Organizations: Habitat for Humanity, Home Depot

Geographic location: Canada, Marquis Road

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