When I moved into my first place, I had very little money. I still remember looking at all of the photos of professionally styled homes and apartments, finally realizing just how expensive all of that stuff was – and realizing that much of it lacked the personality – my personality! – that I wanted to express in my home.
It was then that I discovered how much I could get from something that another person donated to a thrift or second-hand store. That affirming action never went away – 20 years after my first apartment, I still happily check out stores like the ReStore, never knowing what personality treasure I’ll find. And I’m not alone.
Habitat ReStores are independently owned reuse stores operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations – and we’re lucky here in Forsyth to have not one, but four ReStores with the newest addition of the Peters Creek Parkway store in Winston-Salem , now open. The ReStores accept donations of furniture and home improvement items and sell them to the public at a fraction of the retail price – but at the core of each ReStore? A lot of heart and hard-work makes them extra special to be part of.
“We really think of it as a hand up and not a handout,” said Camille Calhoun, Kernersville ReStore Manager. Known among the team as a fantastic merchandiser, she has made the Kernersville store feel like a boutique. “People come in for things to beautify their homes, and I love being able to talk to and help them find a treasure for their home.”
“Thanks to our generous donors, we’ve had some amazing things come through here,” said Kim Marshall, Lewisville ReStore Assistant Manager, “It allows you to see history in a unique way – we’ve had vintage glass and even an antique accordion Officer’s campaign bed.” Kim also appreciates being able to research the items that come into the store, specifically to learn about that unique history and share information with the staff. “People can easily get nicer things than they could possibly afford, and building relationships with the customers, volunteers, and staff allow me to be part of something that improves the community.”
And when it comes to improving the community, the relationship building is just the start: the ReStore averages about 7,000 pick-ups of donated product every year – that’s around 1,000 tons of product! The Lewisville ReStore offers a brilliant service for products that might need some extra love and care: chalk painting classes, taught by Priya Patel with A Cubed Art, to teach customers how to repurpose items rather than sending them to landfills.
“I want to motivate people,” said Priya. “There is a lot of unwanted furniture, and I can see what people don’t, and turn it into unique customized pieces.” While Priya teaches classes for the home DIYer, if you’re clumsy like me, you have a few other options: Priya creates and customizes pieces for people (she’s currently redoing a whole lake cabin for a client!) and also offers advice and how-to pointers when you purchase Wise Owl chalk paint through her. While she impressed on me folks can just call and ask her for advice, I encourage buying the $24 paint for access to her Facebook group – complete with three step-by-step video tutorials! “I thought having my work in the store, maybe folks would be interested in purchasing paint and giving it a try.” Priya isn’t without some serious fans at the ReStore, “She is truly so accessible to help folks refurbish, bring life into, and create a unique, individual piece,” said Kim, previously mentioned ReStore assistant manager and owner of several of Priya’s work. “Priya is so generous with her time and talent.”
If you aren’t in the market for your own home beautification, there are plenty of services that support the ReStores and therefor support affordable housing in our community. The Forsyth County ReStores offer free donation pick-up service of new or gently used home furnishings, an estate cleanout program, and a used mattress program that cleans and sanitizes – then sells – gently used mattresses, helping folks buy a good mattress at a fraction of the cost of a new one.
Regardless of if you’re looking for a new treasure for your own home, some modernization or customization of a found treasure, or a place to donate, the ReStore is the place for you to connect and find community. “It’s about that person in front of you, and the value of talking to that person about their family,” said Camille. “When I come out, I say ‘how can I help YOU today’ because it’s about you.”
The Peters Creek ReStore, located at 2551 Peters Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27127, is now open and planning a Grand Opening celebration for June 12. Stay up-to-date with new inventory and sales by following @PetersCreekWSReStore on Facebook, visit habitatforsyth.org/restore or call 336.893.8495.