Leftovers from building projects and materials donated by contractors, hardware stores and others are finding a place on the shelves of a newly opened store in Baton Rouge that’s in the business of helping others, not making a profit.
A larger-than-expected crowd of about 200 people gathered Saturday morning for the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of ReStore Southwest on Perkins Road.
Run by Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that builds and restores houses for low-income people around the world, ReStore supplies building materials, hardware and home furnishings at low prices, with proceeds from the sales funding Habitat’s homebuilding projects.
The store, located in a warehouse behind Ethan Allen Home Interiors at 10300 Perkins Road, is Habitat’s second in Baton Rouge. The first, on Plank Road, opened in 2003 and has helped fund the construction of 14 homes since, said Lynn Clark, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge.
The proceeds from all sales can go straight into the houses, Clark said, because all of ReStore’s inventory is donated. Local hardware stores, independent contractors and big-box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s all donate surplus and unsold items, allowing ReStore to sell them off at lower prices, Clark said.
“We’ll even get people renovating their own house,” Clark said. “If they buy too much, they’ll donate the rest to us.”
In this case, donated does not necessarily mean used. ReStore maintains strict standards for donations, requiring raw building materials such as tile, lumber and wallpaper to be in new or like-new condition.
Some items are even hand-built for the store. Clark pointed out several wood-finished lounge chairs and storage chests built by inmates at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel.
“They have a carpentry shop there,” Clark said. “We provide the wood and the tools, and they send us these back, and they’re learning a skill that can be really valuable in their lives.”
Regina Murray, one of a mob of first-day shoppers, is renovating her house and was picking through an array of light fixtures. She said she had visited the Plank Road location before, but the new store was more convenient for her.
“I enjoy shopping here; it lets me give back to the community and maybe help someone else have the possibility of a home in their future,” Murray said. “Oh yeah, and the prices are great.”