ReStore: Everything, including kitchen sink
August 17, 2008
CARBONDALE ” Consignment shopping has reached a new level in the Roaring Fork Valley.
In the land of the über rich, hand-me-down items for the valley’s middle-class worker bees have been of a superior caliber for years. But now consignment has taken on a life of its own at the Roaring Fork Valley ReStore, a nonprofit affiliated with Habitat for Humanity.
Increasingly, high-value discarded items are ending up at the ReStore in Carbondale, which generates revenue to provide housing for low-income families.
Everything, including the kitchen sink, is likely to be found at the ReStore. Appliances like stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, washers, dryers and microwaves line up by the dozens. Furniture, bedding, mattresses, glassware, lamps and countless other household items pack the facility.
Bathroom vanities, sinks, bathtubs, paint, windows, doors, siding and other materials ripped from houses, hotels and residential properties are available in abundance.
But there’s much more than that offered at the ReStore, which quickly grew out of its 2,000-square-foot space at Carbondale Mini Storage after it opened last September.
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The store now has 9,000 square feet of space and another 4,000 is being added with a second level. ReStore moved to its new location on County Road 113 in February.
Shortly after the ReStore opened, it was flooded with 95 televisions and furniture donated by the Sky Hotel and the Molly Gibson, two Aspen properties that recently underwent renovations.
The ReStore at first was only open two days a week. Its popularity forced it to a five-day-a-week operation.
Starting Aug. 24, ReStore will be open Wednesday through Sunday.
It’s been a learning process for store managers to figure out just what to accept and what not to.
“We have to be disciplined,” said Scott Gilbert, president of the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley.
Donors, who range from homeowners to large contractors, get a tax deduction from the IRS, which is determined by the item’s replacement value. That typically ends up being far more than what it sells for, Gilbert said.
ReStore sells every piece for half of what it would cost new. And every month that an item sits in the facility, the price is marked off 20 percent, up to 60 percent. If it doesn’t sell at 60 percent off, the item is shipped to the ReStore in Grand Junction to be sold, said LeAnna Atkinson, the Carbondale ReStore manager.
The variety of the merchandise at the ReStore makes it virtually an enormous garage sale. For instance, a one-man sailboat owned by a now-deceased second-home owner sits on the showroom floor, priced at $480.
Olde Towne Moving donates its services twice a month to deliver merchandise, a value of about $60,000 a year in manpower and other expenses. ReStore staff, some of whom are volunteers and two who are paid, also will rent a truck, pick up the materials and bring it to the ReStore themselves.
The ReStore receives approximately 400 volunteer hours each month. The organization has received a $5,000 grant from the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Environmental Fund; $5,000 from Xcel Energy and $1,500 from Colorado Big Country Resource Conservation and Development, according to Kristen Wilmes, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley.
It used to be that the only place to take consignment items and building materials was Construction Junction, where dropped-off items that don’t sell must be picked up. The other option was area landfills.
“I see it as a win, win, win, win, win,” Gilbert said. “Donors get a tax break, things get reused, there’s landfill diversion, it’s a money-maker for Habitat, and it’s good karma.”