Danville ReStore gets bigger building to make a bigger difference

Danville ReStore gets bigger building to make a bigger difference

DANVILLE — Habitat for Humanity of Danville officials are seeking donations and volunteers to help with their latest project: a new home for its ReStore.

The Habitat ReStore will be moving from its current 18,000-square-foot building at 121 N. Walnut St. to a 35,000-square-foot building at 422 N. Vermilion St., which it closed on last month.

"It's going to be more convenient for our donors and our customers," Executive Director Paul Sermersheim said of the larger, more visible location, which is set to open next spring or summer. "And, it has the potential to generate a lot more revenue for the housing mission."

"We're hoping it makes a big enough difference in our profits to do an extra house each year," added John Gibson, the ReStore manager.

The nonprofit home improvement store and donation center opened at its current location a little more than six years ago. Habitat uses the proceeds to fund some of its home-building and renovation projects.

Since it was established in 1986, the chapter has partnered with 57 families to provide safe and affordable housing.

Officials started searching for a different ReStore site about two years ago.

"We have a lot of space," Gibson said of the current site. "But only 7,000-square-feet is usable for our sales floor. The storage is downstairs in the basement or on the loading dock, which are both on different levels. ... And, sometimes the freight elevator works, and sometimes it doesn't."

The new site, formerly the old Win C. Smith car dealership, is all one level and on one of the city's main streets.

"It has eight or nine times more traffic than Walnut Street, and we'll have more space for parking and dropping off items," Gibson said.

While the building has had several owners since the car dealership closed in the late 1990s, their plans — the last being a day care — never came to fruition.

"So we have a lot of cleanup and renovation work," Gibson said, adding the project is expected to take six to eight months.

"Essentially we have a large shell," he said, adding that work includes removing steel studs, doors and windows. "We'll reuse as much of it as possible."

The project, which will be overseen by Habitat's construction manager Josh Rainey, also calls for installing new electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling and sprinkler systems, and building office space and restrooms. While some of the work must be done by licensed contractors, Habitat officials will use its core group of house-building volunteers.

There will also be many opportunities for the public to help, starting with a work day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 28.

"We welcome people with all skill levels," Sermersheim said. Tools and lunch will be provided.

Sermersheim said if people can't make that or future work days but would be available to help at other times, they can call him at 497-4234.

Gibson said the organization is also raising funds to help with the project. The initial goal is $50,000.

"We're also going to have fundraisers including our annual Souper Bowl fundraiser in February," he said.

There will also be an auction for repurposed and refurnished items in April. Anyone who would like to donate items may also call Sermersheim.

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