Habitat for Humanity Opens New ReStore in Gypsum
GYPSUM — On Thursday morning, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley opened the doors to its new ReStore location in Gypsum.
At the inauguration, John Welaj, executive director of the local Habitat branch, congratulated the staff, board and community for reaching a milestone that spanned five years.
“I can’t believe this day is finally here for all of us. We’ve been talking about it for a good five years,” Welaj said. ‘Habitat. It’s just amazing what a group of people can do when they all work together.
Five years ago, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley was developing a new strategic plan and realized that upgrading the store had to be on the list.
“When we got to the ReStore part of the conversation, we thought, ‘We can do better than have a store behind a car wash somewhere and have something that would really be a cornerstone for us,'” said said Stuart Green, who served as Habitat’s board chairman at the time, at Thursday’s groundbreaking.
By the time the ideal location appeared – the former Mountain Living store in Gypsum – the pandemic hit and delayed the organization’s plan until 2021.
While Green referenced some complications along the way — including a government shutdown, a pandemic, and securing funding — the local Habitat affiliate was eventually able to close on the property and give a new life to the ReStore branch of the organization.
“You look at this: we have a loading dock, two garages, a freight elevator, this beautiful building, very visible from Highway 6, everything we could have wished for,” Green said.
Habitat for Humanity was able to purchase the property through donations and community support as well as securing a loan through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program.
In purchasing the building, Welaj said the organization was “going to put piles in the ground here for a while.”
Not only that, but he added that the opening was “a special opportunity for us to return to our roots here in Gypsum”, as the local Habitat had its first Home Outlet store in Gypsum from 2004 to 2010 before moving to the location of Eagle to 2010.
“It’s a really nice store, and I’m glad you finally decided to come home,” Gypsum Mayor Steve Carver said Thursday.
Advance the mission
ReStore plays an important role in Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley’s mission, as 100% of the store’s profits go towards building homes, which is more essential than ever for the Eagle County community.
“One of the biggest issues facing Eagle County is the lack of affordable housing. Teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters – their ability to live where they work is truly at risk,” said Elyse Howard, Director of Development for Habitat Vail Valley. “When Habitat’s first Home Outlet in Gypsum opened, sales of donated items went directly back into the community. Twenty years later, the ReStore is an important financial aspect of our mission to build more homes for hardworking residents. »
This year, the organization is building its 100th house after inaugurating eight new houses last summer.
In addition to providing funding for critical housing projects, ReStore serves as an essential resource for local residents to both give and receive household items.
ReStore accepts donations of gently used items, including appliances, furniture, lighting and more. Since 2007, this has enabled the organization to divert 5,042 tons of usable materials from the county landfill. And on the other hand, it provides an affordable buying option for residents as the cost of living and rent continue to rise, said Ann Logel, ReStore manager for Habitat Vail Valley.
Not only will the new ReStore location increase the visibility of this community resource, but with more than double the square footage, it will allow the organization to expand its efforts.
“Over the past few years we have grown from this space on Chambers Avenue. We’ve had to turn down some really good donations because we don’t have room for them, and so it’s a great opportunity for us to be able to accept more of those donations, and then that increases everything,” Logel said.
“It increases the amount of furniture we can keep out of the landfill, it increases the number of buying options for people who need affordable furniture and as a result our profits increase and more can be spent on construction of Habitat houses,” she added.
To celebrate the new storefront and reintroduce it to the community, ReStore is hosting a number of events this weekend, including sales, food trucks and more.
“We are all really, really excited about it. We just wanted to throw a party to celebrate it,” Logel said. “We’ve been closed for a few weeks, and it’s just a fun way to welcome everyone and show off our new space.”
To learn more about ReStore, visit HabitatVailValley.org.
Journalist Ali Longwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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