The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 17, 2013

Habitat's ReStore busting at the seams

Nonprofit trying to slim down on stuff until new building is done

It was a good problem to have, really. ReStore, Habitat for Humanity’s store for recycled goods, has become so successful, has had such an impact on the community, that it is now nowhere near big enough to hold all the stuff it wants to sell.

Because of this, it has looked for storage in some non-traditional locations.

For example, some of their stuff is sitting in a vacant bowling alley in Lake Crystal. More still is in an old bank in Eagle Lake. A good chunk is sitting in a warehouse in lower North Mankato. And last week they held a sale at the former Minnesota Valley Action Council building to get rid of some of the bigger inventory that didn’t fit inside their store.

Their goal is to find a way to get that stuff out of storage and into a place where it can make money for Habitat.

“We’re not going to make any money on a product if it’s sitting in a bowling alley in Lake Crystal,” said Julie Schmillen, Habitat’s executive director.

They’re in the middle of a capital campaign right now to build a new ReStore across the street from the current one. But until that happens, they’re trying other ways of getting rid of stuff.

Last week the ReStore closed for a day as employees and volunteers moved as much stuff as possible to the former MVAC store for a sale. By the time it was over, they’d earned $3,000 at the former MVAC site warehouse sale and an additional $3,000 at the main ReStore.

They’re also very happy about a big donation they’ve recently received. Anne Chesley Herlihy gave Habitat for Humanity of Mankato $150,000, saying the organization could spend the money however it sees fit. Schmillen said her board of directors voted to use the money on the capital campaign.

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