Habitat chapter ReStores building supplies

When a contractor demolishes a property, usable items often go the landfill. But a New Hampshire chapter of Habitat for Humanity had another idea.

Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity has opened ReStore, a home improvement and building supply store that accepts donations of surplus building materials from contractors and others and sells them back to the public. Money made on the sale of the items goes to support projects in the region.

One of 450 stores nationwide — but the first in New Hampshire — Habitat ReStore, located at 15 Fourth St. in downtown Dover, sells items for 30 to 80 percent off retail prices.

“A number of contractors wanted to donate items, but often they were things that didn’t fit in with the house plans of the homes under construction,” said store manager Jim Gebhardt, of the genesis of the national organization’s ReStore program. “It made more sense to sell the items to the public and use the money for projects.”

Cheryl Van Allen, executive director of the Southeast New Hampshire chapter, said the process to bring a ReStore to New Hampshire was a swift one.

“One of our volunteers was passionate about the Portland, Maine, store. He teamed up with another volunteer and created the business plan,” said Van Allen.

The organization proactively began looking for space in April. Once the board of directors approved the proposal in July, “it started progressing like a freight train,” said Van Allen.

Julie Porter of Weichert Realtors, Points East Properties and Brian O’Brien of The Norwood Group helped the Habitat chapter secure a three-year lease in early September of 2,800 square feet of retail space and 4,000 square feet of warehouse space at the former Holmwood’s furniture store at a “serious discount” said Van Allen. “We jumped at the opportunity. Where else could you find such a great retail space with a warehouse underneath on such terms?”

‘Not a thrift store’

What kind of deals are there at the Habitat Restore?

Gebhardt said the store has oriental rugs for $125, pine kitchen cabinets for $100, a cast-iron sink, originally retailing for about $400, for $150, and oak flooring for $1 per square foot, among many other items.

Van Allen said the store is focused on offering discounted building supplies, not furniture.

“We are not a thrift store; we don’t want to compete with Goodwill and other organizations,” she said.

Donations are accepted from contractors, retail businesses, landlords and homeowners.

“For contractors working on the deconstruction of a large project, we can have volunteers take items out, saving the contractor labor and expenses as well as keeping items out of the landfill,” said Gebhardt.

Habitat ReStore hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

To donate items or for more information, call 603-750-3200 or visit www.senhhabitat.org.

Cindy Kibbe can be reached at ckibbe@nhbr.com.