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Sandpoint's Fourth "R"

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Sandpoint's Fourth "R"

Residents can Reduce, Re-use, Recycle... or Re-Store


Hidden back off of Boyer Avenue, just behind Panhandle Special Needs, Sandpoint boasts a house of wonder for those interested in the old, the funky, the unique and the reusable in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

A re-sale store primarily for building materials and other home improvement goods, whose proceeds benefit the highly popular Habitat for Humanity, the first ReStore in the nation opened in Austin, Texas in September of 1992. Conceived by Diane Beaver MacKie as a way to generate funding for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, the concept of a store selling donated surplus or gently-used building materials became a model fundraiser throughout the nation, with over 650 such ReStores operating today.

The Sandpoint version opened its doors in 2008 and, like most ReStores, has placed its own unique marketing on what is offered. Some of that comes from the guidance of Philip Kent, the store’s manager, who has maintained a lifelong interest in the craftsmanship, originality and quality of items from times gone by. Which is why you’ll not only find old(er) ovens, cooktops and stoves in Sandpoint’s ReStore, but also (at this writing) a 1950s Kenmore stove with the gleaming design of an heirloom Chevrolet Bel-Air, carpet, wood and tile flooring pieces alongside a hand-knotted wool rug in perfect condition, and mid-range living room furniture clustered around a Queen Anne tilt-top table from the 1840s to 1850s.

“Our store reflects our very generous donors and volunteers” Philip explained. “One thing that makes our store unusual is that we receive an exceptional range of materials. This support from our donors and the constantly growing number of customers has allowed the ReStore to contribute substantially to Habitat’s building program and supply reasonably priced materials to the public in a clean and well organized environment.

“People are surprised when they come in here,” Philip added.

Despite some of the higher-end items offered for sale, Sandpoint’s ReStore still follows the same general format of ReStores throughout the nation;  they are a resource for building materials either unused or salvaged from a job that are then donated by local contractors to the program.

These materials include heating and air conditioning units, lumber, molding, plumbing fixtures and supplies, flooring, cabinets and lighting. The ReStore is also the area’s biggest resource for used appliances. Philip explained that when appliances are donated, “We clean them up, make any repairs needed, and verify they’re in working order. Joe Zavala lends invaluable expertise evaluating and advising on plumbing issues and preparation of donations for sales.”

There are some things you probably won’t find at the ReStore: items like full sheets of plywood or heavy copper wire, which are generally too valuable to a contractor to become part of a donation. But when kitchen cabinets, windows or doors are replaced, these items tend to become part of the stock of the store.

In addition, some of the material donated is new. Currently the store boasts a large collection of specialty lighting that was donated when a local lighting store went out of business.

As a registered 501(c)3, donations to the ReStore are tax deductible, and proceeds benefit the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, a program with a mission to “build simple, affordable, decent housing” in partnership with the low-income families who receive them.

The program uses primarily volunteer labor and new, donated materials, along with a sweat equity investment that is required from those chosen to receive a home. The new homeowner makes house payments that go back into the operating funds of the project. Families in need of decent housing apply directly to the local affiliate. Currently Habitat is building one home each year and in the last year, the affiliate has received 18 applications.

The Idaho Panhandle affiliate of Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1991 and is working this summer on their 14th house for the local community. Recent Habitat houses have been built in Schissler Meadows, a 15-lot subdivision in Kootenai (named for the local affiliate’s founder, Mike Schissler); this year’s home is the eighth in that location. To learn more about the organization, visit their website at www.iphfh.org.

Through August, the Habitat ReStore is operating summer hours and is open from 8 am to 5:30 pm Wednesday through Saturday. (In fall, those hours will be 9:30-5:30.) The store also operates a website (www.sandpointrestore.org) though the site is still a work in progress. In future, they hope to be able to keep inventory online so that shoppers have the ability to make online purchases.

If you have materials to donate, the store provides pick-ups within a 20-mile radius; you can call 208-265-5313 and ask for Joe Zavala or email [email protected] to determine if your materials qualify. After confirmation of acceptability, donations may also be dropped off at the store, located at 1524 Boyer Ave. in Sandpoint, from 10 am to 5 pm every Tuesday through Saturday.

-Trish Gannon


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Landon Otis

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