Jul 29, 2014
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Habitat for Humanity Opens Re-Store on Mack Avenue

The store features gently used home building goods that have been donated or purchased by Habitat for inexpensive resale. It will also serve as a donation location for gently used home items.

Habitat for Humanity Detroit has opened its third Metro Re-Store in the former Bob Maxey used car lot on Mack Avenue. The location is technically in Detroit and officials believe it is an ideal location. 

The close proximity to Grosse Pointe will hopefully draw quality donations but it is still very much in a location that will draw customers looking for gently used home items, Director of Development Tara Franey said.

"Grosse Pointers have always been great supporters of Habitat for Humanity," she said, noting many helped the organization receive approval from Detroit's building and zoning department.

Opening a location in or near Grosse Pointe has been part of strategic planning for Habitat for a few years, she said, noting the organization's work in the Morningside Community near Mack and Alter.

Habitat officials and volunteers just finished building the 81st house in the neighborhood and will remain there for about another year. A few years ago Habitat changed its focus to rehabbing neighborhoods rather than simply targeting single homes, so the organization committed to building 100 homes in the neighborhood, she said, and they work street-by-street.

The heaviest focus has been Lakepointe, Maryland and Wayburn in Detroit—all part of the Morningside Community, she said. A group of churches from the Grosse Pointes formed an organization called Grosse Pointe Partners, Franey said, explaining they have built one Habitat house a year for several years in addition to other volunteer work.

The new Metro Re-Store, 17081 Mack Ave., offers shoppers the chance to purchase home goods similar to what one would find at Lowe's or Home Depot but at a much lower cost. The items include flooring, lighting, lamps, sinks, toilets, dressers, desks, couches, cabinets, washers, dryers and much more.

Most of the items are donated but Habitat does purchase some items at closeout sales or in overstock situations to sell at a significantly reduced price. The Mack Avenue location offers new area rugs and new mattresses.

There are also many items that are like new, which currently includes a jetted bathtub that was donated by a person that was remodeling their bathroom, Franey said. All of the major appliances sold by Habitat are inspected and repaired if necessary. They come with a six-month warranty, she said.

In addition to home items, the store also offers supplies for home repairs and remodeling, such as paint, paintbrushes, tools and more, all of which are new but sold at a significantly lower price than a traditional retail business, Franey said.

She estimated about 30 percent of the merchandise is new and about 70 percent is used.

As a donation center, Habitat will accept drop-off donations during its normal business hours. If an item is too large for drop-off but the owner wishes to donate, the staff will pick them up, Franey said.

Another service Habitat offers related to donations is demolition, she said, explaining it's often less money than what contractors will offer and salvageable items are donated to the store. The price is dependent on the size of the job and the manpower needed.

The store, which is housed in two buildings, will be operated by four to five employees, including Manager Reggie Poole, Gift-in-kind Coordinator Larry Salive and customer service representative Clifford Jarrell, who is also a Habitat homeowner.

Jarrell and Poole said they have already received a number of drop-off donations since opening in mid-December. The store celebrated its grand opening Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

During Patch's 45-minute visit to the new stores, more than a dozen potential customers came in. Poole said he believes the store will be busy once people know about the location. Before managing the newest location, Poole worked at the Greenfield store in Detroit, which has heavy traffic and a lot of transactions.

"This is a great place to look for a bargain," Poole said.

Habitat had to do very little to the buildings, one was formerly a garage and one was the showroom/office area for the used car dealership, to convert it to retail space. The garage has more of a warehouse feel to it, housing the sinks, toilets, entertainment centers and more. The office area has the paint and tools necessary for a home project as well as the rehabbed appliances.

Jarrell said some additional lighting was installed in the garage and cashiers stations were created in both buildings. The stations are in locked rooms with bullet proof glass.

The garage, which already had garage doors, has worked well for accepting donations, the employees said.

The store will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations will be accepted during those hours. The only items not accepted at the Metro Re-Store are clothing and mattresses. Employees said they have already had clothing dropped off, which they had to transport to a clothing donation bin because they do not accept or sell clothing.

They do accept donations of:

  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Kitchen and bath cabinets
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Light fixtures
  • Lawn mowers/snow blowers
  • Plumbing/hardware supplies
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Electrical supplies
  • Power and hand tools

For more information, visit the organization's website or call 313-653-4890. For demolition services, call 313-284-2176.

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