Business booming at ReStore in Oakland

January 14, 2009 3:08:03 PM PST
There is good news for those of you who have delayed home improvements because of the sour economy; an Oakland-based business can get you substantial discounts on building materials and let you help Habitat for Humanity at the same time.

It's a handyman's dream come true at the Habitat for Humanity East Bay ReStore in Oakland - deals everywhere on the new and re-useable donated items. And with the economy not doing well, business is booming.

"Really on the donor side it's been strong, a lot of companies who are cleaning out their warehouses are sending things are way, as well as our customers seem to be really loyal right now - they are of course trying to save money," said Frank Atkins, ReStore general manager.

Save money on items like doors for example, that can retail for $900, on sale for about $150. Donald Rodrigues is buying one of them - he's a regular.

"First of all - it's very inexpensive. I think generally when they price things here it starts at maybe 50 percent off of what you could get it for at a conventional big box place, but on top of that, I support the mission," said Rodrigues.

Habitat began the ReStore as a response to all the construction related items donated from companies and individuals.

"We do provide a receipt from those corporations and individuals. We are providing a service where we are keeping those products out of the landfill," said Atkins.

About 900 tons of ReStore materials ended up in houses, instead of landfills, last year alone. But the real success of the store can be seen at Edes Avenue in Oakland - where 26 Habitat for Humanity homes are already built and 28 more homes are under construction. The profits from the store contribute to all this in a small way that ends up making a big difference, just ask someone who lives here.

"It's had a huge impact on my family because not only are my parents able to afford a house for the first time, but they are also putting together a program to help first generation students get into college," said Mohamed Saleh, Oakland resident.

The ReStore is always looking for donations - in fact if it's new, or nearly new - they'll take just about anything except the kitchen sink - no, actually they'll take that too.

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