by Paul Wagner on Aug 14, 2012
You know you want it. ReStore opens Saturday, Aug. 18. (Traci Hukill)
I sure hope someone donates a forklift,” says Mark Burden, co-manager of Habitat for Humanity’s soon-to-open ReStore. And looking around its giant industrial space on Swift Street, it’s easy to see why.
To the left of the former spice company factory floor sits a glowing purple sectional sofa that could easily sit nine. To the right, a gleaming ’50s-style electric oven, burners carefully arranged so one can access the rear pushbutton console without burning one’s wrists. And in the distance, a perfectly arranged stack of solid-core doors so thick and sturdy that a roomful of jocks could yell “What is it with the quarterback? Where the hell did they getthat jerk?” all day long and not a peep would disturb your handcrafted yogurt project in the kitchen.
And that’s just the view from the front. Wandering the periphery of the 6,000-square-foot space (soon to expand to 17,000 if store traffic is heavy enough), endless treasures appear. Tiles with spherical cat’s-eye marble-like inserts for lining a countertop. Slip-into-the-wall insulation strips allowing one to just cut, slide, patch and retain warmth. A Celtic blue entrance door with frame, rescued from a Carmel teardown. Notes Burden, “Every one has its own character.
Stocking everything from building supplies to interior accents, ReStore will offer quality goods at about a third of the new retail price, with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity Santa Cruz County.
Habitat Santa Cruz has several reasons for offering all this to the public. First, it’s ramping up its pace of construction to build more homes per year than it has in the past, and that requires more money—money that’s more scarce during economic downturns. Second, the architectural recycling movement has recently gone global and spills out plenty of materials, a lot of which are high quality enough to be as functional as when they first were nailed into place. And third, notes Habitat’s local executive director, David Foster, “We get to serve the green building movement,” as this type of recycling keeps usable goods out of the landfill—1.3 pounds of goods per dollar of sales, according to Habitat Canada.
The arrangement benefits demolition companies and stuff-burdened residents, too, since donors (who provide all the materials) get tax write-offs. In fact, Habitat Santa Cruz gets so many offers to donate that it has to say no to certain items like mattresses, damaged furniture, non-working appliances, older TV’s, clothing and small batches of paint.
Even after limiting its types of donations, though, Habitat driver Shane Hommel brings so many interesting items (like a lamp whose bulbs resemble jewels) that ReStore co-managers Burden and Monique Bourin are already—even a week before opening—frantically checking, cleaning and polishing hundreds of new items to get ready for the grand opening.
Which apparently will be quite an event. Assemblymember Bill Monning will attend at 10am to help cut the ribbon, as will Santa Cruz Vice-Mayor Hilary Bryant. Local Rotarians are setting up an outdoor barbecue—hot dogs guaranteed (more menu items may appear). A hot air balloon will hover; wind conditions will dictate its freedom to roam and accommodate passengers. Music may or may not emerge, but nobody’s discouraged from spontaneous on-pitch singing.
The action starts at 9am and continues to 1pm at 719 Swift Street, in the same building as—and in the way-down-the-driveway rear industrial space behind—Hotline Wetsuits. Parking is a bit limited, but People Power will be offering valet bicycle parking. If you want to donate, volunteer to help staff the store or fork over some bucks or labor, call 831.824.4704. Hours after the ReStore’s grand opening will be Thu-Sat 10am-5pm. But try to attend on Saturday the 18th. Your new purple sectional awaits.
ReStore opens Aug. 18 at 719 Swift St, Santa Cruz.