Bringing Communities Together

HFH is a community organization that aims to bring neighbors together to help neighbors. With a mission to eliminate substandard housing in their local rural areas, both HFH locations have established ReStores. These ReStores have turned into successful ventures that allow the organization to assist the community in various ways.

The concept behind HFH’s ReStores is simple: Donate your new or gently used furniture and building materials to the organization; they in turn resell the item at a discounted price in the ReStore. HFH then uses all profits from the ReStore to support the organization with overhead costs, house building projects, wheelchair ramp projects and more.  An environmentally and socially responsible way to keep good, reusable material out of the waste stream, ReStores provide low-cost supplies for home maintenance and simultaneously generate funds for all of HFH’s community work, which the organizations consider a win-win-win.

“Our slogan is ‘find a bargain, make a difference,’” says Todd Pierce-Ryan, executive director of the Habitat For Humanity of Greater Ingham County.

The actual ReStore model is a relatively new concept, having been introduced to the United States just about 20 years ago. Today there are more than 40 ReStores throughout Michigan alone, with a HFH ReStore in Williamston and another in Mason.

These local ReStores have been tailored to meet the needs of their communities as the Williamston and Mason affiliates accept personal donations from people upgrading their homes, and from contractors providing sizable portions of donations from their building projects. Both locations accept and sell a variety of furniture, appliances, kitchen cabinets, windows, doors and more.

The stores even receive the occasional unique item such as a subzero refrigerator, an antique desk, even a custom-made sculpture used in a restaurant. Donation guidelines are strict, however; appliances must be in working order and no more than 10 years old, and all other items must be in new or good shape and useable sizes.

“Basically, anything it takes to build a home and anything it takes to furnish it are our acceptance criteria,” Pierce-Ryan says.

The HFH does all it can to encourage donations. HFH ReStores allow drop-offs, offer pickups and will even take materials they do not accept, such as clothing, to other organizations like Volunteers of America.

“The easier you make it to donate items the more likely people are to do it,” Pierce-Ryan explains. “We try to make it as much a one-stop donation opportunity as possible.”

By accepting these donated items HFH ReStores encourage recycling and save thousands of tons of materials from being discarded.

“It is amazing how much material flows through the ReStore,” Pierce-Ryan continues. “To have all that material kept from going to waste and have it be in a place where it can have a second life is very rewarding.”

While the mission of the ReStores is to drive funds to support the organization and its projects, the very existence of the stores offers the organization public exposure, as every customer who walks through the doors becomes more aware of HFH and more educated on its mission and community efforts.

“If the ReStore were not available to the public, these donated items would most likely be disposed of in the landfill,” says Sue Carroll, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Clinton County. “The donor receives a tax deduction and the sense that their donation is going to serve a good cause. The ReStore customers find just what they’re looking for at a very affordable price.”

In addition to keeping reusable items out of a landfill, HFH ReStores have yet another green impact on the community, as profits allow for the organization to operate and build Habitat homes and other projects such as wheelchair ramps and home renovations.

The building of these projects coincides with the mission of the organization. Building new homes, renovating existing homes and performing major repair projects for low income families help to create and maintain home ownership opportunities within the communities.

All Habitat homes are built to be energy efficient, installed only with Energy Star™-rated refrigerators, stoves, furnaces, hot water heaters and compact fluorescent bulbs. These homes create positive, long-term impacts on the community’s health, economy and culture. These homes are safer and healthier, with reduced maintenance cost and energy savings of 30 to 70 percent, saving homeowners anywhere from $200 to $400 per year in utility costs.

According to Pierce-Ryan the HFH ReStores are not just stores, they are stores with a purpose.

“It is such a valuable resource for the community. If you know about it, you will donate to it, or you’ll shop there, or you’ll volunteer there. It is very compelling.”

Author: Joanne Jansz
Photography: Terri Shaver

Habitat for Humanity Clinton County –  ReStore

Sue Carroll, Executive Director

2352 N. U.S. 27

Saint Johns


Habitat for Humanity Lansing –  ReStore

Denise M. Paquette, Executive Director

1941 Benjamin Drive



Habitat for Humanity of Greater Ingham County –  ReStore

Todd Pierce-Ryan, Executive Director

132 S. Cedar St.



1500 W. Grand River Ave., Suite B




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