Recycling with purposeSuperior’s newest recycling center could help you spruce up your home. The ReStore is serving up new, used and repurposed home building materials, tools and furnishings for low prices.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Superior’s newest recycling center could help you spruce up your home. The ReStore is serving up new, used and repurposed home building materials, tools and furnishings for low prices.
“Our goal is to fill the homes, not the landfills,” said store manager Teresa Backes. “Everyone deserves a beautiful home.”
The home improvement discount store is an outreach and fundraiser for Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity. Stock rotates constantly in the nearly 12,000-square-foot store at 1621 Broadway St.
“Everything is donated,” Backes said. “Homeowers, businesses, contractors — they just bring it in.” The tax-deductible donations are tested and, in some cases, refurbished or repurposed before hitting the sales floor. Prices range from 45 to 80 percent off on items.
Friday, pieces included décor and chairs from Duluth’s Red Lobster restaurant, custom windows, rows of doors, a rack full of Valspar paint, nuts, bolts, light fixtures, pipes, wiring, range hoods, cabinets, tile and more.
“We don’t accept everything,” said Daryl Yankee, executive director of Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity.
But what they don’t take, their neighbors might. The ReStore is located in a recycling hub. AA Roll Off, After Life Electronics, Balcum Appliance and TLK Industries are all within a few blocks. Anyone who drops by with donated goods can get referral sheets to these and other businesses.
The Twin Ports ReStore was announced in December, but it took time to navigate the planning and approval process. ReStore is a national brand with more than 150 nationwide.
“We want to keep the integrity of that,” Yankee said. The wait also netted the organization the perfect manager.
“In our wildest dreams we would ask for someone with equal construction and retail experience,” Yankee said. Backes measured up. She worked 13 years in retail and has more than seven years of construction experience. As Yankee put it, she knows it all.
ReStore gives old building materials new life. The money raised at the store will build homes, construct access ramps and give a “Brush of Kindness” to those in need throughout the community.
“We need more money to respond to the need here,” Yankee said. “We have more applications for a ‘Brush of Kindness’ than we can do.” And the nonprofit organization is working on a new Habitat home in Superior. The project involves refurbishing a home from the new Super One Foods site in East End at 708 Weeks Ave.
With only a few full-time staff, both Habitat for Humanity and the ReStore rely on volunteers. You don’t need construction experience to lend a hand, said Richard Rowson of Duluth. The retired postal worker was testing electric light fixtures Friday at the store.
“There are a lot of things you don’t need to be a skilled craftsman to do,” Rowson said. Volunteers are needed to sort items, clean floors and help customers, Backe said. ReStore staff members also repurpose items, like creating a toilet-seat clock or turning a pair of shutters into a knick-knack shelf. The business’ front counter, built by TW Wood Design in Superior, uses cabinet doors, shutters and more in the design. Turning something old into something new is fun, Backes said, and it inspires visitors to do the same.
The ReStore hosts a grand opening 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, but those who want a sneak peak can stop by earlier. The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The shop opened its doors about a month ago.
“A lot of people have been coming in, it’s been a great response,” Backes said. “Everybody loves the idea of it.”
Customers and donators come from Duluth and Superior. Yankee attributes that to the store’s location, close to the bridges and near landmarks like Thirsty Pagan Brewing and Kari Toyota.
Items can be donated Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. While pick up service is not available yet, it is in the works, Backes said.
For more information on Habitat for Humanity, local volunteer opportunities and the ReStore, call 218-722-3875 or go to www.twinportshabitat.org.