Last year, the Christian non-profit planned to open its retail location around the beginning of the year, but hold-ups in finding the location, obtaining necessary permits and getting on the same page with contractors have held the project up for about six months.
Thursday, Sandhills Habitat Director of ReStores Ken Pierson said the group hopes to have temporary power in the building this week so that contractors can get to work.
“We’ll be looking for volunteers who swing a hammer, and don’t mind getting dirty pulling carpet up and just helping us get the building ready to open,” he said.
The store is in what used to be a tire shop in the plaza behind Shoney’s. It was most recently Bryan’s Beach Bingo.
Tri-City Properties Property Manager Joe Mendola said that once temporary power is provided for the building, the work of the contractors should take less than 30 days.
“Once the contractors are done, we can get everything we need done in about two weeks,” Pierson said.
The building is split in two halves, and Pierson explained the part of the building farthest from 74 Business will be the furniture showroom. This portion should be completed first.
The other half of the building will house the appliance and building materials showroom.
Pierson said that within the next month, the group should be able to announce scheduled weekly pickups of donations for the ReStore.
Donated items are resold to patrons of the store, then the money is used to fund home construction projects in the county for qualified low- to middle-income families.
The ReStore project was made possible by a $72,000 Cole Foundation grant to help with start-up costs, and Habitat officials hope to raise enough money to build at least one home in the first year of the project.
While they will have to wait-and-see how well the store raises funds, the goal is to be able to build three to four homes a year with the money raised at the store, as the group does with the ReStore in Aberdeen.
On Thursday, electrical contractor Tim Peek was checking wiring in anticipation of connecting power to the building.
“It’s a great location, and there’s a lot of people looking for this place to open,” Peek said. “The building itself is getting better and better, too. It’s better now than it was a week ago.”
Pierson said one volunteer has already torn out some walls to allow Habitat to extend the bathrooms in the building, and a contractor will be patching the walls, then painting will begin next week in the furniture showroom.
“Everybody I’ve talked to is excited about Habitat coming in,” he said. “Everybody wants Habitat building houses in the community, and everybody wants low- to middle-income families to be able to afford to own a home.”
Store Manager Jo Ann Thurman said the group is also planning for after the work is complete.
“Once all this is done, we’re going to need volunteers to actually work in the store,” Thurman said. “We’re going to need cashiers, people to test the appliances, sort donated items and unload cars.”
She said this type of volunteer work is perfect for high schoolers who are working on their senior projects and college students who are home for the summer.
“Also, senior citizens who are home for life,” Pierson added. “It may be that you can’t swing a hammer or climb a ladder anymore, but you can still work a cash register or plug in an appliance and test it to see if it works.”
Potential volunteers are encouraged to visit Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills’ Web site at www.sandhillshabitat.org. There is a ‘Volunteer Up’ icon where people may register to offer their labor.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.