The Cycle of Goodwill

Habitat for Humanity’s Anthem ReStore is ‘not just a store’

By Brandie Bosworth

Vickie Dinieri donated the tile flooring from her house years ago to Habitat for Humanity’s Anthem ReStore.

During a recent visit to her neighbor’s home, she admired their light fixtures. They were purchased from the same ReStore. Several others in her community buzzed-about items they found at the resale shop, so she decided to check it out for herself.

Dinieri liked what she saw.

“There are cheaper prices for sure,” says Dinieri, who frequently shops at second-hand stores.

Opened in 2011, the Anthem ReStore has less than 10 employees but 543 volunteers, some of whom have outlasted paid workers. It is hiring a part-time associate and a ReStore driver. Youth groups and businesses sometimes spend consecutive days working in ReStore. In total, volunteers have contributed 24,414 hours to the business.

“Our volunteers help us process donations such as checking quality, especially if electronics turn on, and assisting with putting out items in-store,” says Crizelle Reyes, a marketing coordinator for ReStores.

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona operates independently as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. They are registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and are responsible for fundraising efforts.

According to the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, nonprofits do not have a sole owner. Boards of directors share the responsibility of governance.

The Anthem ReStore promotes Habitat for Humanity’s mission by donating 100% of the proceeds to the nonprofit and promoting a cycle of goodwill.

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, which operates independently as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, listed a cash flow of $439,124 in its June 2018 financial statements and single audit compliance report.

Inventory

ReStores sell everything from clothing to scrap metal to home improvement items, some of which are unopened from warehouse closeout sales. ReStores offer these items to customers at a discounted price. Habitat financials indicated that in June 2018 Central Arizona ReStores had an inventory valued at $728,308.

“The community is more than welcome to donate gently used items that are still in good condition,” Reyes says.

“(Donors) get a donation receipt that is itemized to what they gave us. Even if you bring in clothes, knickknacks or silverware, we can give you a receipt.”

For larger donations, the store has a pickup service, which is scheduled by a call center. Donations are accepted daily.

ReStores also offer a deconstruction service, where one manager and a group of volunteers go to a house to take large items such as cabinets and appliances.

Primarily, the Anthem store receives home goods, such as artwork and furniture. However, these items sell the fastest and the store can always use more, according to Karen Scherpenberg, an Anthem ReStore employee and long-time Habitat volunteer.

Each of the four Valley ReStores have different items, which sets each location apart. For example, according to ReStore manager Chris Carrillo, the Central Phoenix location carries mostly building materials.

ReStore’s impact on the community

Habitat for Humanity Central Phoenix has helped serve 3,213 families in the Valley since 1985, according to the organization’s spring newsletter.

“As part of the Central Arizona chapter, all ReStores are contributors to the difference we are able to make with every partner family who are in need,” Reyes says.

She calls this the circle of goodwill. The community assists the organization through its donated items and time. In return, the nonprofit gives back to the communities it serves through home builds to families in need. The environment also benefits from this cycle.

ReStores prevent the unnecessary discarding of usable products from landfills and dumps. So far, about 30 million pounds of items have been reused and recycled through Habitat’s resale shops.

“We are passionate about people and we care about their situation. We care about building relationships, it’s not just a store to us,” Scherpenberg says.

She knows about 60% of the Anthem store’s clients by their first names. She has a collection of hats and scarves she likes to wear when she greets customers.

“It’s just a fun atmosphere, some people come in just to say hi,” Scherpenberg says.   

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