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For Shoppers, Donors, Volunteers, Support for Lehigh Valley ReStore Has Rewards

Lehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for Humanity

In some ways, shopping at Habitat for Humanity Lehigh Valley’s ReStore in Whitehall is like going on a treasure hunt. You never know what you’re going to find. Even better than a treasure hunt is the fact that when you make a purchase at the store, you’re supporting Habitat’s mission, which is to provide affordable housing to members of our community.

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Lehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for Humanity

The Lehigh Valley ReStore has a special license from the state to sell gently used upholstered furniture. Above, inside the store, sofas are prominently displayed alongside wood furniture and other items such as wall art.

In a way, shopping at Habitat for Humanity Lehigh Valley’s ReStore in Whitehall is like a real-life a treasure hunt. Whether it’s for yourself or someone else, you never know what you might find.

Even better than a treasure hunt is the fact that when you make a purchase at the store, you’re supporting Habitat for Humanity’s mission to provide affordable housing to members of our community who otherwise might never achieve the American dream of becoming a homeowner.

The Lehigh Valley ReStore opened nearly 11 years ago, in January 2013, inside the former Circuit City store on Grape Street, across from the Lehigh Valley Mall.

After more than a decade of growth, store director Dave Wagar said some Lehigh Valley residents are still discovering it as a reliable resource for buying and/or donating everything from home goods to building supplies to wall art.

“It’s amazing the number of people that come in and say, ‘oh, how long have you been here?'” he said.

Lehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for Humanity

The Lehigh Valley ReStore sells a variety of used books in its book department, which is located near the back of the store. Children’s books, cookbooks, how-to, home repair and gardening books are accepted for donation.

Wagar described the role of the ReStore within Habitat for Humanity as a funding generator for the affordable housing initiatives that are part of its core mission in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Habitat’s well-known home ownership program allows low-income families to buy a home with a 0 percent interest mortgage after completing 250 sweat equity hours in its construction.

In addition to donations from individuals that it resells, the ReStore also accepts donations from businesses, including contractors, corporations and even other retailers.

For example, Wagar noted that Lowe’s “is a very big supporter of Habitat,” which is why it’s not unusual to see Lowe’s brand items on the store’s shelves.

In some instances, companies that are downsizing have donated furniture and other supplies to the store, and households that are downsizing are also frequently on the ReStore’s donor list.

Donations are accepted Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the store asks that anything that will fit in a standard-size car be brought to the ReStore for drop-off by the donor.

For items such as large pieces of furniture, pick-ups can be arranged. Wagar said donors who arrange for a pick-up should expect to wait a couple of weeks before the truck arrives at their home.

Items also need to be accessible to the ReStore staff in a garage or on a porch or patio on the day of the scheduled pick-up.

Lists of what is accepted by the ReStore may be found on their website.

Among the items that are not accepted are:

  • Baby furniture
  • Mattresses, box springs, futons and sofa beds
  • Clothing and shoes
  • TVs and other electronics
  • Gas-powered appliances
  • Soft goods such as pillows and drapes
  • Encyclopedias, magazines, novels and textbooks
  • Toys
  • Jewelry
  • Hot tubs
  • Fishing and hunting equipment
  • Food

For the complete list of items that are not accepted for donation, click here.

And if you don’t have anything to donate, you can always support the ReStore just by shopping there. In fact, Wagar said some of the store’s regular customers visit nearly every day they’re open.

Just like in a regular retail store, the ReStore is organized into sections filled with items that are clearly priced and ready to be purchased.

Lehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for Humanity

Shopping carts are available for the convenience of ReStore customers. The store is open for shopping Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for major holidays.

The store has shopping carts for customer convenience, and although they don’t offer delivery of larger items, they do work with partners to help customers who need something delivered.

Both paid staff members and volunteers contribute to the Lehigh Valley ReStore’s success, and Wagar said volunteers don’t necessarily have to do a lot of heavy lifting as part of their work there.

With a background in retail, Wagar said he was hired by the ReStore four years ago, after deciding that he wanted a job that was more fulfilling.

“At the end of the day, I know where my efforts are going,” he said, noting that Habitat for Humanity’s goal is to lift struggling families out of challenging circumstances with “a hand up–not a handout.”

As of this fall, Habitat Lehigh Valley had constructed approximately 135 homes for local families, with seven or eight currently under construction and a development of about 50 homes planned.

Located at 1053 Grape Street in Whitehall, Habitat’s Lehigh Valley ReStore is open for shopping Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on major holidays like Christmas.

Typically, the store is also closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s, Wagar said.

During the holiday season, it’s a great place to shop for gifts, decorations and other seasonal items, with an added reward being the knowledge that store revenue is reinvested in the community.

Lehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for Humanity

Sales are conducted via a color-coded tag system at the Lehigh Valley ReStore. There is even a “Name Your Own Price” table near the store’s entrance.

The store utilizes a color-coded price tag system for its sales, which offer customers the opportunity to save even more money on their purchases.

Another way to save is by joining the ReStore’s free rewards program, which allows shoppers to earn points and offers other benefits.

Founded in 1989, Habitat Lehigh Valley is an affilitate of Habitat for Humanity International, a global organization that has provided housing for over two million people in the U.S. and abroad.

For more information about the ReStore, email re*****@ha*******.org, call 610-776-7499 or visit HabitatLV.org/restore-home.

Lehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for Humanity

The Lehigh Valley ReStore is located inside a building that was once home to Circuit City, near the heart of one of the busiest shopping areas in the region.

Lehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for HumanityLehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for HumanityLehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for Humanity

Lehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for HumanityLehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for HumanityLehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for HumanityLehigh Valley ReStore Habitat for Humanity

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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at josh@sauconsource.com.

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