Even before the current wave of inflation hit our island, buying anything new for your home, be it furniture, kitchenware, wine glasses or a kettle, was a major investment. Prices aside, recent research about the impact of waste and import-related pollution, has also led many of us to try to lead more sustainable lives. A solution to both these problems? Recycling and upcycling.
What better way, therefore, to help your bank balance, climate conscience, and people in need than by supporting Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. Not only are you likely to pick up a bargain, but a unique one at that:
“Someone bought in a monkey that looked like Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’,” says Sandra Warner, the ReStore’s manager. “It was about a foot high. That sold very quickly.”
Other unusual, but extremely popular items recently included three church pews, two large ones, and one smaller one, which not only sold immediately, but they had calls about them for days afterwards. The smaller one was priced at $200, and the larger a bit more, but continues Mrs Warner, they could have been sold for a lot more: “We might call around the churches to see if they have any more pews for sale,” she laughs.
ReStore accepts and sells everything except clothing and major appliances and on the day I visit there is a French provincial style desk for $150, a child’s bed with a reading light attached for $200 and a whole host of different glasses for $1 each.
Having a party? It might be cheaper to buy the drink glasses instead of renting them.
There is dinnerware and other China pieces from Royal Dalton, Wedgewood, and Delft. Lampshades, side tables, coffee tables, jewellery, books, DVDs, CDs, bed linen, candle sticks, place mats and Island Trading recently donated an outdoor living set that “sold within a half hour,” says Mrs Warner.
The most popular items are furniture, toasters, and toaster ovens, she adds.
The ReStore opened in June 2020 and in three short years has gone from strength to strength, thanks to donations, the 13 volunteers who help in the shop throughout the week, and the Bluck family who allow Habitat to use the building rent-free: “We’re just so grateful to the Bluck family,” says Mrs Warner.
The store is therefore “very profitable”, and “makes a significant contribution” towards Habitat renovation projects. These include essential repairs to people’s houses, who can’t afford the cost themselves, as well as restoring buildings for the benefit of the community.
The store is also continuously evolving to attract customers.
In 2021, ReStore started selling original artwork by local artists including Sheilagh Head, Shaunagh Butler, Diana Amos, Andy Detzer and John-Pierre Rouja. These proceeds are split between the charity and the artist. The calibre of the pieces has, however, caused the occasional misunderstanding:
“We try to put them in the window so that people can see, however I’ve had a few people say they thought it was a high-end art gallery,” says Mrs Warner.
She is also cultivating her own indoor plants, including violets and philodendrons, which she hopes to start selling imminently.
While Mrs Warner is proud of the reasonable prices, when items haven’t ‘walked’ out of the door immediately, she says they are always open to negotiation. “This is a thrift store. We try to keep our prices reasonable. We want things to sell,” she says.
ReStore, 4 Front Street (old Bluck’s building) is open from 10am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday. Donations can be dropped off during that timeframe.