The Forest Grove Habitat for Humanity ReStore was started in early 2008. A group of volunteers was able to secure about 1000 square feet of donated space from a local warehouse company located in an industrial section of Forest Grove, Oregon. This group of volunteers was able to find enough donated building materials and used furniture to stock the small space and open on a part time basis, Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.
In mid 2009 the Forest Grove ReStore was able to move to a space of 5000 square feet in the same building, with the space having street frontage and easier access for the public to buy and donate materials. The ReStore also was able to hire on a part time basis the first employee, Store Manager Diane Wiley. The ReStore also was able to purchase a used 12 foot box delivery truck. This allowed the delivery and pickup of donated and purchased materials.
The ReStore continued to do well in this location, although the location was far from ideal for a retail business due to the location in an industrial area away from the general traffic flow. It took substantial advertising and word of mouth to bring the general public to the store.
The ReStore was able to achieve sales of between $5,000 and $8,000 per month in this location. Discussions soon began about possible new locations that would allow better public visibility and traffic flow, more conducive to the retail type of business.
In early 2010 a new site was identified and due diligence, research and negotiations began. The new site was an excellent fit for the ReStore. The location was an old Chevrolet dealership that had been empty for over 17 years. The space available at this new location was 15,000 square feet with a front facing glass show room and warehouse.
This site was located on Tualatin Valley Highway in Forest Grove close to a major intersection. The daily traffic count was over 25,000 cars per day, which was more cars in one day than the location in the industrial section had in one year.
The new location features a street facing glass fronted showroom, offices and meeting space for the West Tuality Habitat affiliate, a electrical product room, a large warehouse where larger materials are held, and a shop and intake area where donations are processed and prepared for sale. There is also a fenced area where large bulk materials, not requiring covered storage are held.
In October of 2010 a three year lease was signed and the planning for the move began. Store Manager Diane Wiley and a group of volunteers organized the move, and over a 3 day period in late October 2010 moved the entire store inventory and fixtures to the new location. This movement of inventory and fixtures involved over 45 volunteers, 13 pickups, some with trailers and 2 semi trucks. Due to extensive pre-planning of the move, it went very smoothly and safely, and was completed in the 4 day period.
After closing the store for 2 weeks during the move and the set up at the new store, the store opened on November 3, 2010 and in the first month, sales increased over 200% from the previous location. Our volunteers really stepped up and helped out in this move and we are grateful for their help.
In early spring of 2011, the store added another 3000 square feet of shop and donation intake space in the same building to increase donation processing efficiency. These moves have proved to be very profitable for the store in both sales activity and the increased efficiency for the volunteers, and the efficient movement of processed materials to the sales floor.
The ReStore continues to be a viable retail business supporting the mission of the West Tuality Habitat for Humanity in it’s mission of providing affordable housing in our local community.