After more than a year of construction, Habitat for Humanity of McLean County is about to welcome customers and donors into its newly expanded ReStore on Bloomington’s west side.
The new ReStore (opening June 2) is 20,000 square feet, more than double what Habitat had for the last year or so after two buildings that were basically falling apart were removed. But the most important numbers show what it will mean for Habitat’s mission—building decent homes alongside families and volunteers in Bloomington-Normal.
Anticipated new revenue from the expanded donation center and thrift store will help Habitat go from building six homes each year to 10 in the near future, said Ashlee Sang, communications and procurement coordinator for Habitat. ReStore revenue will now be able to cover 100 percent of Habitat’s administrative costs, freeing up all donor dollars for home construction, she said. “It’s not going to be paying for printer paper or people’s salaries. It’s going to be building homes,” Sang said on GLT’s Sound Ideas.
The ReStore property looks significantly different from nearby Washington Street. Sang says they’re especially excited about the new covered (and elevated) drive-through donation dock. “Instead of having to go to the very back corner of the parking lot, do a three-point turn, all of that—you now can zip in, you drop off your item, and you drive through,” she said.
A new 12,000-square-foot expanded wing now stretches west off the ReStore’s older remaining building. The two are connected, with easy access by stairs or ramp.
That expanded wing will give Habitat more room to display decorative items and homewares, as well as furniture and lighting. The old ReStore building will now be used for home improvement items like doors and windows, building materials, and tools, Sang said. “We’re just so, so excited to have it be better organized, look a lot sharper, and be able to get a lot more items in this space,” Sang said. They’ve also added more parking and a second register to speed up checkout on those busy Saturdays.
Habitat wanted to stay on Bloomington’s west side, Sang said. It secured a low-interest loan from First Financial Bank.
“We think west Bloomington has a lot to offer. We see this investment as an investment into west Bloomington,” Sang said. “We also know that a lot of our homeowners we build for live in west Bloomington, and a lot of our shoppers live in west Bloomington. And we wanted to be accessible and a community fixture in west Bloomington.”
Habitat will celebrate completion of the $1 million project at a grand reopening from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, June 2. The event will have activities for all ages, including a flipped furniture auction, live music, face painting, balloon animals, and local food trucks.
Originally published by Ryan Denham on WGLT on 5/24/18. Photos also by Ryan Denham.