Habitat for Humanity to open retail store

MANCHESTER - Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity is building more than just homes in the community. Soon they will add a retail outlet to their resume. The Shires Resale store, just outside Manchester in the old Skier's Edge building, will have used furniture and building supplies available for purchase for the public.

Richard Malley, the executive director of Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity, said opening the store is completely in line with the primary mission of the organization.

"Our mission is all about helping lower income people, who are working hard to find [affordable] housing, something that is safe and decent and well maintained and energy efficient," he said. "We're trying to make something that will be affordable to start with and easier for our home buyers to maintain."

Habitat for Humanity has other stores around the nation, called ReStores, where they sell furniture and building supplies. Malley said these stores are built where there is a high volume of sale, as well as a large population. There are ReStores in Albany and Troy, N.Y., as well as one in Burlington. The Shires Resale store cannot be called a ReStore, but if they have a high enough volume of sales, they may get that distinction, he said. "We are just putting our toe in the water and seeing how it works out," Malley said.

The store is currently undergoing improvements to make it more energy efficient, as well as a setting up the furniture and building materials already donated. They hope to be open at the end of December.

Malley said the inventory of items started after the fundraising auction. Instead of just collecting goods during the late spring and summer, donations have been coming in all year long, he said.

"There isn't a store like this in Manchester," he said. "[It's] A store with a difference where people can find a good value."

Because of the location, the store will be accessible to residents of not just Manchester, but also Dorset, Rutland and the towns up in the mountains, Malley said. The money earned from sales in the Shires Resale store will benefit Habitat for Humanity's projects in the community, like the homes built on Jennifer Lane. There are currently two homes under construction at the location, he said. Construction started on the homes in May and August. Usually, Malley said, it takes about 60 volunteer days, as well as the work days done by professionals -like electricians- to finish a home. Malley said this store will give community members a different way to volunteer.

"People who have volunteered are not necessarily people who build," he said. "[The store] Broadens the opportunity for the people in the community."


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