By Evan Quinn, Habitat for Humanity Buffalo ReStore marketing manager
Last fall, I was searching for a job to get back into the retail industry when I came across a post from Habitat Buffalo. I was excited because I knew this was a golden opportunity to use my professional skills while contributing to a mission that was much greater than me.
I began my job as the ReStore’s marketing manager in October and assisted in the south Buffalo location’s grand opening in December. The opening had special significance for me, having grown up only three blocks away from the store.
It’s an area that is downtrodden and economically challenged. The number of boarded-up houses and businesses grows every year.
But our community is beginning to see resurgence. Habitat Buffalo’s ReStore is the first business to open in the area in a long time. Since our doors opened, the ReStore has provided more than just home furnishings and improvement materials to the public. It’s provided people with some hope that local commerce is returning and that the economy in this area is getting better.
Habitat has a rich history in the area. Habitat for Humanity first came to Buffalo in 1985. Since then, we have built, rehabbed or repaired more than 200 homes. In 2005, we opened our first ReStore in the Black Rock section of the city. In four years, the ReStore raised more than $500,000 to fund the rehabilitation of 12 homes.
We’re hoping that the South Buffalo ReStore will help fund the construction or repair of even more homes for low-income families in the city of Buffalo. We’re off to a good start. Not only is foot traffic high at the new store, but donations of home goods are pouring in. We receive a variety of donated items, from boxes of nails to furniture. We recently received a furniture donation that had a retail value of $12,000. We sold it for $2,500. It was a great deal for one of our customers!
And while we’ve been able to provide some bargains to our customers, possibly the greatest achievement is what they have done for us — more residents than ever are getting involved in Habitat’s mission.