Habitat for Humanity ReStore Looks to Expansion Amid Growth in Second-Hand Market [Interview]

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Habitat for Humanity ReStores are home and building supply outlets that accept and resell new and gently used building materials.

And the concept continues to gain momentum throughout the country, capitalizing on the burgeoning consumer trend of spending money at secondhand and used retailers.

It began with its first store in 1991 in the Winnipeg area and today there’s 110 locations across Canada coast-to-coast. There are more than 1,000 stores worldwide.

“Right now, we’re about an $80-million business in Canada,” said Daryl Morrison, National Manager for the Habitat Restore, who takes care of all the initiative’s procurement, product and distribution across the country.

“The ReStore supports the local (Habitat for Humanity) affiliate and there’s 49 Habitat affiliates.”

Image: Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national charitable organization “working towards a world where everyone has a decent and affordable place to call home”. 

Habitat Canada says it brings communities together to help families build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership. 

“With the help of volunteers, Habitat homeowners and 50 local Habitats working in every province and territory, we provide a solid foundation for better, healthier lives in Canada and around the world. Habitat for Humanity Canada is a member of Habitat for Humanity International, which was established in 1976 and has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries.”

Morrison said he believes the ReStore concept will continue to grow in Canada.

“There’s a lot of secondhand stuff on the market. We don’t want anybody necessarily throwing it out. Last year alone, we diverted 43,000 tonnes of product from landfill all across the country,” he said. 

“Definitely I see growth across the country in the secondhand market.”

Image: Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Image: ReStore

Morrison said each ReStore is unique, offering consumers a wide variety of products for a home – from construction materials to furniture and appliances at discounted prices. Some stores even sell books. 

Revenue generated from the stores goes back to help Habitat for Humanity in its home building efforts throughout the country. 

Morrison said the venture receives its items that it sells through donations as well as national donors that include several big box retail chains. 

“We have a small procurement team and we look after national donors that have multiple locations across the country,” he said. “Overstock. Returns is a big, big business for us right now. There’s so much returns right now (in the retail industry).

“If you can’t handle all these returns, please donate them and we can get some money back in the markets for them to support our mission. There’s just so much out there and we just need to get a grasp of it.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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