Modesto’s Habitat for Humanity has just dramatically increased its footprint, and in more ways than one.
The Stanislaus County chapter of the national nonprofit celebrated the grand opening of its new ReStore location this weekend, completing a roughly 18-month project to move to the larger warehouse on Tenaya Drive. For more than 20 years, the shop has been a popular place for do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike to find discounted secondhand, donated and overstocked home improvement materials and furnishings.
In addition to its new, bigger digs, the organization known for helping people find housing has more than doubled its coverage area this year with the addition of all of Merced County. Since Jan. 15, longtime local CEO Anita Hellam has headed the merged Habitat for Humanity, Merced/Stanislaus Counties.
Already, the charity has been helping Merced County residents who suffered damages from the winter storms and flooding. Hellam said Habitat is serving flood victims in Planada, in eastern Merced County, which was hard hit by the rainstorms at the start of the year. It will provide mold suppression and renovation help to up to 500 homes. And Habitat is in the process of repairing five homes, one of which is an almost total rebuild.
Also with the consolidation of the Modesto-based organization and its Los Banos affiliate, the group will open two new ReStore shops in the coming year, one in Merced and one in Los Banos.
“It’s significant growth and I think it’s really good for the community,” Hellam said. “We want to make sure people understand the overarching mission of our organization. We want our services across the board to be consistent and the ReStores to be consistent.”
Hellam said they’re aiming to open the new Merced shop by the end of the year, and the Los Banos one by next spring.
The combined organization also will be hiring about a dozen more staff, between its new planned stores and administration. The group currently has about 15 employees.
But first, Habitat is celebrating the long-awaited opening of the expanded Modesto ReStore. The shop has moved from its cramped 25,000-square-foot complex on Kearney Avenue, where it’s been for more than 17 years, to a 35,000-square-foot building across from the Modesto Airport.
The larger space has many advantages over its previous site. For one, the Tenaya location sees 20,000 more cars pass by it a day than the previous ReStore across from a U.S. Postal Service branch in central Modesto. While the new warehouse is in an industrial area, it faces the always busy Mitchell Road, one of the main arteries connecting Modesto to Ceres.
The site also has much more parking, a continual problem at the previous location, which was on the edge of a residential neighborhood. The property will allow for a designated drop-off area for donations. And there’s even space for the corporate office, which will be in a separate building behind the warehouse.
Inside, instead of the old complex’s mazelike layout, the new warehouse will have regular rows and clear sight lines, making it easier to shop. Habitat also plans to start offering regular Saturday workshops from home repair and construction experts for the public on site, as well as monthly children’s activities.
Hellam said she hopes the better visibility will increase awareness about the store and all it offers. She said despite the group’s success in the region over the years — the ReStore generates $1 million in sales annually — some people still think it sells only construction materials to professionals. But the shop has an ever-changing selection of remodeling supplies and home furnishings for sale at low prices to the general public.
“ReStore is a win-win-win,” Hellam said. “There are so many people who are able to do their own home repairs only because of ReStore and the pricing.”
The new ReStore, at 2206 Tenaya Drive, will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, closed Sundays.
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