Weekly Business Profile
Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Type of business:
Resale Building Supplies, Furniture, Appliances
4900 Menaul Blvd NE
Albuquerque NM 87110
How did you get started in this business?
Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity (GAHH) was founded in 1987. Our vision is to ensure that no one in the Greater Albuquerque area lives in substandard housing. We do this by helping low-income families build and purchase very affordable and decent homes. We are an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, and while we follow certain HFHI guidelines, we basically operate independently. The concept of the ReStore started in Austin, Texas when, after building several Habitat homes, the Austin Habitat affiliate decided to recoup some of their costs by selling leftover building materials to the public. In 2002, not long after the ReStore idea had just begun to take off across the country, a group of very dedicated Albuquerque Habitat volunteers got wind of the idea. Luckily for GAHH, one of the volunteers was married to an airline pilot and was able to travel to a few ReStores to see what they were all about. In 2002, they found a space on San Mateo south of Central, which was once the old Rainbow Roller Skating Rink. The owner of the building wanted to help out Habitat so he let GAHH volunteers pull up the flooring and sell it. He kept some of the proceeds and gave some to GAHH to fund the beginnings of ReStore. In 2013 we relocated to our new space on Menaul.
Who runs the ReStore?
Steve Church came on board as the ReStore Manager almost a year ago. Steve's ReStore experience in Texas helped him hit the floor running. He and his staff of 16 part-time and full-time employees have increased donations and salesexceeding all goals.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
When ReStore succeeds, Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity is able to help more low income families in Albuquerque own their own homes. ReStore has helped build 176 homes in Albuquerque so far. Providing homes for low-income families really motivates our entire staff. We love that ReStore supports our environment by promoting recycling and upcycling. ReStores across the nation keep more than 950 tons of "waste" out of our landfills annually. Every dollar spent at the ReStore keeps an average of 1.3 lbs out of the landfill!
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We were spread out in 4 different buildings on San Mateo; we owned one and rented three. Some people said that we were Albuquerque's best kept secret, but that was the problem, GAHH needed to improve our visibility. We conducted an assessment feasibility study and with that information decided to start looking for a new location. Raising the money and moving wasn't easy, but looking back, it all happened fairly quickly. We purchased and renovated the old Learning is Fun building on Menaul just west of San Mateo and we haven’t looked back.We recently started a text campaign for customers. If they text "restore" to 51555 they will receive updates about Habitat like notices about sales and special discounts. Our customers love this program.
What are your growth goals?
Our goal is for ReStore to support 100% of the operational expenses of Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity. This will allow 100% of the donations and grants we receive to go entirely towards building homes for low income families.
What's your unique niche in the resale market?
Our niche is building supplies. We carry doors, windows, cabinets, plumbing and electrical parts. We also have furniture, home furnishings and appliances. We don't sell curtains, clothing, bedding, or mattresses. There is a list of what we do and don't accept on our website.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
We are proud of the energy efficient homes that we have built for low-income families who would have never otherwise been able to become homeowners. We enthusiastically exercise stewardship of the earth by promoting upcycling and recycling. Recently we received a grant from Positive Energy Solar to put solar panels on the ReStore. And last fall we held our first annual Fall Upcycle Fair and Solar Celebration. The 2nd annual Upcycle Fair will take place on October 17, 2015. We also offer--free to the public--really interesting educational classes in the ReStore on topics related to financial literacy, home repair and healthy living thanks to a grant from State Farm. We have classes coming up on composting, building straw bale gardens and will writing.
Anything else you would like to add?
ReStore is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. We accept donations from 9am-3pm. Anyone can call our dispatcher to schedule the pick up of large items.
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