By B.C. Manion
Diane Watta’s mind was reeling as she scoped out the ReStore store in Zephyrhills.
“The ideas are going through my mind like you wouldn’t believe,” said the 70-year-old woman, who was at the store browsing because she plans to undertake a few home improvement projects.
John Sparling, also of Zephyrhills, said he frequently shops at the store, which opened on Oct. 1.
“There’s always something you can use,” said Sparling. “We live in a trailer. There’s always something you have to fix and this is the place to come to get it. Every time I come in here, I get what I want.”
Sparling is familiar with the store, operated by Habitat for Humanity of East and Central Pasco, because the organization has a similar store in Dade City, where Sparling has shopped.
The Zephyrhills store is a 15,000-square-foot space at 4700 S. Allen Road.
It is next to a bunch of mini-warehouses, which is advantageous, said Niki Trapnell, the ReStore store manager. People who cannot fit everything into their mini-warehouse, or who don’t want to cart off all of their stuff can conveniently donate it to ReStore, Trapnell said.
The inventory at her store is constantly changing – as donations come through the door and as customers carry out their purchases.
The donations are always a surprise, Trapnell said. “It’s like Christmas every day at the ReStore store, you never know what you are going to open up in the box.”
During a recent visit, there were doorknobs, desks, file cabinets, bathtubs, vanities, a smoker, a grill, a portable AC, upholstered chairs, patio furniture, mirrors, lighting, laminate flooring, mattresses, mop heads and faucets.
There was even a kitchen sink.
There are deals to be had.
“Our prices are generally 50 to 70 percent off of retail,” Trapnell said.
But some items were a real steal: golf clubs and bags of hardware for a buck; a Danish end table for 10 bucks.
Ceiling fans typically go for between $5 and $50, depending on the type and condition, while weed whackers range from $5 to $60.
The store accepts just about any donation, Trapnell said. If people want to give clothing, they’ll regift it to another charitable cause, she said. The store also recycles metals, paper, cardboard and aluminum cans.
“Our whole concept is to reduce what goes into the landfill and have people reuse it, or repurpose it,” Trapnell said.
Profits generated by the store go into the Habitat for Humanity’s mission to eliminate poverty housing in Pasco County and to give families a decent, affordable place to live, Trapnell said.
Judi Fisher, a volunteer from Land O’ Lakes, is pitching in at the shop to help a family earn 400 hours they need for a Habitat for Humanity house. Their house was destroyed by fire because of a faulty ceiling fan.
The 43-year-old said she helps because she has “a servant’s heart.”
Bert Reil, another volunteer, has been helping Habitat for Humanity for 10 years.
“I helped on 44 houses,” the Zephyrhills woman said. “I enjoy seeing houses go up. We were custom builders.”
Like most businesses, the ReStore store has felt an impact from the recession, but not to a great degree.
The poor economy has caused more people to look for good deals, Trapnell said. But the store can’t stock enough used appliances to meet the demand, she said.
“People who were upgrading their appliances before, when their appliances were still usable, are hanging onto them.”
To volunteer at the store or to make a donation call (813) 395-6994.