Morris Habitat for Humanity Restore is The Store That Builds Homes.
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Morris Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates houses in partnership with families in need. Habitat houses are affordable because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest is charged on the mortgage. The family’s monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving fund which is used to build more houses.
In the next four years, Morris Habitat plans on serving over 200 families through new and rehab homebuilding, home preservation and international homebuilding programs. Volunteer visits will total over 45,000, and our Restore activity will keep another 3000 tons of reusable items out of landfills while providing funding to support our overhead. As advocacy increases, so will the evolution of families becoming homeowners, transforming communities and the economy in an upward direction.
Morris Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International.
The ReStore is a good deal for you, your community and the environment! It creates a steady source of income for Morris Habitat by selling new and salvaged building materials and home furnishings donated by individuals and businesses. It promotes sustainability by diverting hundreds of tons of materials from the waste stream each year.
The first ReStore opened in April 1991 in Winnipeg, Canada, followed by the first U.S. store in Austin, Texas. In 1994, Kathy Hourihan, a recycling coordinator for the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, first brought the idea of a ReStore to the Morris Habitat board. A visit to the ReStore in Tampa, Florida, convinced her to promote the concept here, and finally our first warehouse opened on May 12, 2007, in Mine Hill.
Kathy continued her volunteer work as a board member, chair of the publicity team, Bike & Hike planner and kitchen cabinet pricer for the ReStore. Her employer gave the ReStore its MCMUA Recycling Award in 2007 for “restoring faith in reuse” and in 2014 for “restoring our habitat.” Still growing after 10 years, the store’s success can be attributed to people looking for a bargain and to a greater interest in reuse and recycling.
The Morris Habitat board of directors was doing serious research into the feasibility of a ReStore by 2004. Their guiding force was Don Kuhn, president of the board during the crucial start-up period. He wrote the business plan and many policies for store operations. You may recognize him today from his continuing volunteer work as a pricer of fine art donations and as a constant helper on the sales floor.
Another board member at the time, Bill Keefe, drafted the financial projections for the business plan. Gordon Lorig joined the board in 2006 and worked with volunteer property acquisition sleuths and a commercial realtor to search for properties to rent.
Even though Bill Keefe predicted that we might lose money for as long as three years before the ReStore would start to show a profit, the board voted unanimously to move ahead. After the store opened in 2007, Don Kuhn continued his leadership as the first chair of the ReStore Advisory Team, and board liaison Beth Everett monitored store operations. With this close oversight from the board, the ReStore became profitable in only eleven months, and is still growing after 10 years.