Business news from the Fredericksburg region.
Local Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore will move into a bigger home this summer
Savvy homeowners looking to snap up building materials for a song—and do good in the process—will soon be able to choose from a larger selection.
The Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore has outgrown its location off U.S. 1 and will be moving this summer into a larger space in Gateway Village on State Route 3.
“We are so cramped,” said Tom Carlson, executive director. “We’ve got so much material that comes in that we’re renting extra space to store it.”
Currently, the ReStore’s 5,700-square-foot space at the Four-Mile Fork Business Center is chockablock with lighting fixtures, kitchen cabinets, refrigerators and other donated building materials and household goods. Carlson said he worries that the aisles are tough for someone in wheelchair to navigate.
ReStore’s new digs will be in a roomier, 28,000-square-foot space next to Gold’s Gym. Hugh Cosner gave the organization a “wonderful lease rate” on its new location, which will be prepared for its new use over the next few months, Carlson said.
He added that he expects donations will increase once the move takes place, and that he’ll have to hire more staff over the next year and a half.
“This is a huge sea change for our ReStore and our administrative space,” Carlson said. “Everything that we’ve got here is so compressed and so small. We’re so looking forward on this.”
ReStores are resale outlets that sell donated reusable and surplus building materials, such as windows and doors, as well as some appliances and household furnishings, at a fraction of their original price to the public. Proceeds help fund the construction of Habitat for Humanity homes.
“We do a half million [dollars] in sales annually,” Carlson said. “We have a tremendous profit margin that goes into building more homes.”
Currently, the Fredericksburg ReStore is ranked the fourth highest among the 822 Habitat for Humanity ReStore stores nationwide for the dollar amount it generates per square foot, he said.
The Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore started out about 18 years ago in a church basement, then moved into a small building not far away on Houser Drive. It has been at the U.S. 1 location for about eight years.
During that time, the Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity has used proceeds from its ReStore to help build 19 homes for those living in inadequate or substandard housing in Fredericksburg or the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania or King George.
The organization’s new goal is its 20/20 Vision, which is to build 20 more by 2020, Carlson said. The first one will be designed and built by an all-female team of volunteers near Lake Arrowhead in Stafford County.
“I’ve got a tremendous staff and we’re re-vectoring the organization,” he said. “We really feel that we’re on track to do a lot more for the community.
Recipients of a Habitat for Humanity home don’t get it for free. They have to contribute $500 worth of sweat equity, as well as pay a zero-percent interest mortgage and property taxes.
“In many cases, you’re breaking the generational cycle of poverty that many of these folks have had,” Carlson said. “We really feel that we’re doing something for the individual that benefits the community as well. We’re taking families on welfare or some type of support from the government rolls essentially, and now they’re standing on their own two feet.”
The father of a family in the pipeline to receive a Fredericksburg Area Habitat for Humanity home, for example, lived in three African refugee camps for 17 years before immigrating to this county and eventually bringing his family over to join him.
“They’ve been here eight or nine years and now they’re going to be homeowners,” Carlson said. “What a tremendous thing for them to be able to say, ‘This is my home.’”
Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407