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A new place to treasure hunt: ReStore

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Al Hansen, a ReStore volunteer, checked over a donated light fixture last week in preparation for the grand opening of Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County’s ReStore in Alexandria. (Amy Chaffins/Echo Press)2 / 5
Amy Chaffins | Echo Press Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County’s ReStore sells furniture, appliances and building materials, both new and gently used. (Amy Chaffins/Echo Press)3 / 5
Items that are donated to ReStore, even the kitchen sink, are cleaned up and readied for resale in the store. (Amy Chaffins/Echo Press)4 / 5
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Kitchen tables, bathroom vanities, couches, end tables, light fixtures and more are lined up in rows ready for their big unveiling next week.

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Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County will open its new ReStore on Thursday, May 1 at 9 a.m.

The store is located at 1211 North Nokomis in Alexandria, adjacent to the Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County office.

ReStore will sell new and slightly used furniture, appliances and a variety of building materials to help fund Habitat for Humanity’s mission: seeking to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.

With the help of grants and community partnership funding, ReStore has taken shape over the last few months with new flooring, a few new walls, a sprinkler system installed and merchandise moved into the 10,000 square foot store.

A special ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on May 1 at 8:45 a.m. to recognize those community partners that helped ReStore come together.


Kelli Wendel, development director for Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County, said, “First and foremost, our decision [to open the store] was really based on helping more families and finding a sustainable source for funds.”

Over the years, Wendel explained, the organization received generous donations of building materials and what they couldn’t use to build houses was put in garage sales, which were successful for the organization.

Bob Voltz of Alexandria was recently hired to manage ReStore and said, ultimately, the goal of the store is to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County.

He said, “We hope by year three we’ll be able to completely fund one home and then grow from there. That’s how we like to look at it – how many homes are we funding through the ReStore profits?”

Voltz explained ReStore pricing: Typically, if it’s brand new, an item will be 50 percent off the retail price. Then, they take into account age and wear of the item too. Prices aren’t negotiable, but they’ll change the longer an item sits out in the retail space.

How is ReStore different from local building supply stores?

Wendel said, “It’s really not in competition with them. We’ve had excellent support. In fact, they donate product to our sale.

“[ReStore is] different in the fact that the items here could be new, but there are also used so it’s a great place for people who want to replace something economically or they need to match up something that may no longer be manufactured or they can’t find it.

“Clearly, economically, [ReStore] fills a need for people so I think we’ll have shoppers who may not be able to go to retailers and pay full price for something and that’s going to be neat to see,” Wendel said.

Voltz added, “In talking to other ReStore managers, there are a lot of artists who come in and buy cabinet doors and do artwork on the back of cabinet doors – a lot of repurposed things.”

“There are also a lot of people who are really creative who can come in and find something that somebody didn’t want and make changes to it and pretty soon it’s this new, cool, funky thing and everybody’s going to want it, so I think you’ll find a lot of customers doing that,” Wendel said.

Voltz added, “It’s a great place to come treasure hunting. It will be changing all the time.”

ReStore accepts donations of new and slightly used appliances, building materials and furniture. Call the store at (320) 759-1989 for details.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133