EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Starting Wednesday, Feb. 1, folks who are looking to spruce up their homes or offices can do so for a fraction of the cost, as well as benefit others.
Atlantic County Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore at the Shore is now open for business at the organization’s new hub at 2733 Fire Road. The showroom is filled with armchairs, end tables and armoires, some from name brands like Ethan Allen.
Plates, lamps and other smaller items are placed in a second room that leads to the warehouse where there are rows of leather and linen sleeper sofas that were obtained from a hotel renovation are sold for $60 as well as desks, cabinets and much more.
Executive Director Carol Schwartz said store makes furnishing a home affordable.
“Some homeowners are not able to purchase new furniture for their homes, but here they can get something nice for a good price,” Schwartz said.
The nonprofit organization searched “far and wide” for almost three years for a site for the home improvement store and found that the Fire Road location offered a combination of space for the storefront as well as warehouse and office space.
The store sells furniture, appliances, home goods, electrical and plumbing fixtures, tools and materials like shelving and flooring at low prices, with proceeds to benefit its mission of helping low-income families secure housing.
Habitat for Humanity typically builds new homes for qualified low-income families, who participate in the construction through “sweat equity.”
“We ask that each of the new homeowners put in 250 hours, which we call ‘sweat equity,’ to help build the homes. That way they know what’s in it, how to maintain it and more,” she said.
“We then hold the mortgage for them at zero percent interest until the loan is paid off. The purchase cost is only what it cost to build it. We consider it a hand up, rather than a hand out.”
Schwartz said the organization currently holds about 28 mortgage loans for Atlantic County residents, and is now focusing more on rehab projects of foreclosed properties rather than new construction since the Atlantic County has the highest foreclosure rate in the country.
“Having a safe and stable home life is integral part of a family,” she said, adding that a few homeowners have paid off their loans, and credit the organization with helping their children experience success in life. “One wrote to us thanking us for allowing her to have a safe place for her child to come home and do homework.”
The store is open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Items in good, clean shape that can be resold are accepted via pickup or drop off. Donors are asked to contact the office first to ensure that it is an item that is wanted for the store. All donations are tax deductible.
Volunteers are needed and may stop in to sign up. Call 609-487-9472 or see www.achabitat.org.