By Joe Southern
Fort Bend Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Stafford is probably best described as a Goodwill Store for home improvement.
People donate goods that are then sold in the store at 13570 Murphy Road.
“Every dollar made here in the store goes right back out to the community,” said Jan Sadler-Gibbs, director of operations for the ReStore.
Habitat for Humanity is known for helping to build houses for families who would not otherwise be able to afford home ownership. The ReStore helps fund the nonprofit organization’s charitable work.
“We need to get quality donations; stuff that has to be sellable,” said Sherwin Sun, Executive Director for Fort Bend Habitat for Humanity.
Sadler-Gibbs said the biggest sellers at the store are appliances such as washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators. Most of their donations come from private citizens, leftovers from construction companies and discontinued and remnant items from big box stores.
“We have an in with a demolition company and we get their chairs, tables, refrigerators …” she said.
Sadler-Gibbs began managing the store on July 1, 2015. She inherited a disorganized mess and has been turning it around into a presentable, profitable program. The front showroom of the store has some of the choice items on display. The back warehouse contains many of the larger and bulk items like furniture, wood, large appliances, cabinets, sinks, toilets, etc. There are also landscaping items, especially decorative stones.
Sadler-Gibbs said they have a working relationship with a custom cabinet maker.
“We can do new custom cabinets and flooring,” she said. “Bring in your measurements and we can order brand new cabinets.”
Not only is the ReStore dependent on donors and shoppers, but it needs volunteers as well.
“We depend on volunteers to help us,” she said.
She said she has a driver who makes 4-5 runs a day picking up donations. People can also bring them to the store, but only during business hours. They don’t take everything people want to unload and there is a continual problem with after-hours dumping.
“We do have a junk problem,” she said. “We’ve posted signs.”
Sun said the donations have to be good quality and something someone would want or need to buy.
“The key for us is it has to sell, it has to move,” he said. “If it stays on the floor it takes up space. We have to look at the price per square foot in the store and try to maximize our space.”
Sadler-Gibbs said stores like Lowe’s and Sam’s Club are big donors. ReStore will sell those items at a lower price than the retailers.
“We put as reasonable a price as possible,” Sun said. “It is a fundraiser so we’re not giving things away.”
Over time some rather unique items have been donated. One time someone gave them 20-foot tall doors with a giant lion’s head mounted on it.
“Somebody bought it as soon as it hit the floor,” Sadler-Gibbs said.
Other oddities were a player piano and a wooden phone booth.
“This is a cool place for do-it-yourself projects,” Sun said.
For more information or to shop, come by the store at 13570 Murphy Road Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is closed Sunday and Monday. The store can be reached by phone at 281-403-0708 or online at www.fortbendhabitat.org.