Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Habitat ReStore recognized as Small Business of the Month

We are pleased to recognized Asheville Habitat for Humanity ReStore as Small Business of the Month.

The Asheville Habitat for Humanity ReStore provides a sustainable source of income for Habitat's building program. The ReStore encourages recycling, diverts 1400 tons of material from landfills and helps make home improvements affordable. Volunteers play a vital role in everyday operations, with more than 12,250 hours of service provided by volunteers in FY2012. Sales in FY2012 (ended June 30, 2012) were up 24% over FY2011.

Read on for our interview with General Manager Scott Stetson...

Tell us a little of the store’s history: when did it open? How many employees do you have? etc.
The ReStore opened in 1990 on Biltmore Avenue. It was called the Habitat Home Store at that time. The store moved to its current location at 31 Meadow Rd. in 2003 and then remodeled/expanded in 2011 and was rebranded Habitat ReStore, which is the name used by most other Habitat ReStores.

What makes Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore unique?
We sell building supplies and materials, as well as large and small appliances. And we even offer a 30-day return policy on appliances and electronics  -- that is unheard of in the reuse (thrift shop) business. Also, our Deconstruction service provides the ReStore with items like kitchen cabinets and hardwood flooring. Furthermore, proceeds from ReStore sales are used to support our home building and home repair programs, so it’s a real win-win for the community.
Chamber Chair Linda Brandt and Vice Chair for Small Business Carol Rovello present the
Small Business of the Month Award to Scott Stetson and a Board Member of Habitat ReStore

Any company highlights you’d like to share? What are you most proud of?
We were the second Habitat ReStore in the country; today there are more than 700. Out of all of those stores, the Asheville ReStore ranks #7 in sales!  And the six stores ahead of us are in major metropolitan areas with populations of 1 million+.  That says a lot about how supportive the Asheville/ Buncombe County community is and how reusing/recycling resonates here.

What’s next on the horizon?
We expanded our ReStore in 2011, so our focus now is keeping the store full of quality merchandise. We are always seeking donations – residential and commercial. Our Donations Manager is actively working to expand relationships with local businesses that may have excess inventory, close-out merchandise, a warehouse that needs to be cleaned out, etc.
We also look forward to holding our 2nd annual ReStore ReUse Contest next summer after such a successful inaugural contest in 2012.

The Asheville Chamber’s tagline is “Connect. Enage. Impact. Thrive.” Pick one of these words {or all of them if you are feeling verbose : ) } and tell us what it means to you as a small business in Asheville.
Impact: (Financial) The ReStore provides Asheville Area Habitat with sustaining income to build new houses and repair existing homes in the community. We also employ local people and use many local vendors, which supports the local economy. (Environmental) The ReStore diverts 1,400 tons of material from the landfill each year. (Community) The ReStore provides the community with a resource for affordable building materials, appliances, furniture, housewares and more. And, we utilize hundreds of community volunteers -- engaging folks who want to participate with Habitat, but don’t necessarily want to swing a hammer on a construction site. ReStore volunteers help us build and repair homes too!

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