helps a family build a safe and affordable home
9:00 - 5:00 Monday through Saturday.
AND 11:00 - 5:00 on Sundays!
5605 Sunshine Coast Highway (beside McDonald's) Sechelt, BC
Why we do itIt's all about building affordable housing. Habitat Sunshine Coast's mission is to lift low income families out of the poverty cycle through home ownership. Our volunteers are your friends and neighbours who contribute to the community by raising funds for this purpose.
Did you arrive here from www.restoresc.com?
Welcome to the new Habitat for Humanity Sunshine Coast website! Please change your bookmark to this new page. Take a look around and we hope you will find everything you need. Please note the new Donation Retrieval Form! Here's a little menu to get you started. Our weekly new items are on the What we sell page.
A little history
We are grateful for the community support we have experienced during our short history on the Sunshine Coast. The ReStore first opened in Wilson Creek, occupying the basement of an old car dealership. The location was great but the store was soon bursting at the seams with too much merchandise and not enough space. The next year we relocated to larger premises at the airport but the location was inconvenient. Finally we moved to our present facility, even larger and in a great location. We plan to stay here for a long, long time.
ReStore's Secret Untangled
If you are wondering what the ReStore is all about, the twisted chandelier saga is a good place to start.
They were sitting in Habitat for Humanity’s Western Canada Distribution Centre in Vancouver: 23 beautiful lead crystal creations, some of them seven feet long. Nobody wanted them; they’d become hopelessly tangled during handling and shipping. They somehow wound up in the distribution centre gathering dust — until Luanne St. Louis heard about them.
St. Louis, the ReStore manager here, always has her eye out for a deal; she can see possibility where others see hopelessness. She brought the chandeliers to Sechelt and set some volunteers to work untangling them — a task that took about four hours per light. Luanne even took a “therapy day” on a slow Saturday to untangle one of them herself.
“It was my ohm moment,” she says, making the sound of a chanting Buddhist monk. It wasn’t long before the lamps were creating a sensation. “There were lots of oohs and aahs,” she says. They really sent out a buzz.” Although the chandeliers retailed for $1,500, St. Louis priced them at under $225 and they flew out of the store. “They are the reason our March was smashing.”
Smashing is a word often heard around the ReStore, and we’re not talking about the shattering of lead crystal. It’s sales records that are being smashed, pretty much every month. March was the biggest month ever — until April came along. And May.
Each year, the HFHSC board sets sales goals for the ReStore, and each year, St. Louis and her staff and volunteers keeps exceeding them. “Luanne always sets out to meet or beat her targets,” says Margie Garrard, the chair of the ReStore committee. So far, the beat goes on. St. Louis credits the stores success to its organization. “People like how this store is set up. It is a nice feeling. People can find what they want.” But spending a Saturday afternoon at the store shows that its success is due to much more than organization. People have fun there; both customers and staff.
“This job is fun because people come in and know my name. We are building relationships here. We have lots of fun with customers. We have regulars. Hundreds of regulars. Some come in every morning, sometimes just to talk, sometimes to see what’s new. We joke around; there’s a lot of camaraderie.” As if to illustrate this, Steve Murdoch, who volunteers at the store, wanders up to the checkout counter and hams it up with a flexible floor lamp, pretending it’s a microphone. “Rockstar Steve,” Luanne says. “Actually, we did have a microphone here once,” says Kim Spanks, an employee at the store, “but we sold it.”
That’s another reason behind the store’s success: You never know what you might find there. A full-sized sarcophagus that was donated to the store caused quite a stir last summer; it quickly found a new home on the coast. Then there was a dining room suite from Thailand. A couple had bought it for $15,000 and had it shipped here. Each chair back was hand carved. “It was stunning,” St. Louis says. After the couple changed décor, it was donated to the ReStore and now hosts family dinners in a new dining room.
“I see this place as a department store. We’ve got everything – tools, hardware, home décor — like walking into a Walmart.” Except it is a Walmart where the greetings are genuine, the deals are one of a kind and the profits enrich the entire Sunshine Coast.
Since ReStore merchandise is donated (in exchange for a charitable receipt), and much of the work is done by volunteers, almost 60 per cent of what you spend there goes directly to building affordable homes right here on the Sunshine Coast. Some of the donations are interesting, to say the least. “The guys in the back will say, ‘this is just junk.’ I say, ‘no, we’ll take it,’ and what do you know? In a couple of hours, it has sold,” says St. Louis. Many people who are downsizing or moving donate practically everything in their homes.
“A guy recently came in whose wife had died and he was selling their home here and moving to Vancouver. He was thinking of donating the contents of his house. He just came in to talk. I ended up going to his house and went through everything and then arranged to have it picked up,” St. Louis says. Most of it has already been sold. “I know what is a deal and what is not,” St. Louis says. “I call it a gift. My idea is to move product; just keep it moving and get more money to build affordable houses.”
St. Louis is called away to check out a delivery to the rear doors; it’s a good opportunity to check out some of the more unusual items in the store, such as a pallet of burlap coffee sacks. By the front door is a 10-foot Seahawk 3 inflatable boat with oars, pumps and cushions for $150. A beautiful green leather reclining chair is wheeled out the door. St. Louis returns, slightly out of breath. “I just unloaded a bunch of laminate flooring. This is my gym.” It may be a gym to her, but to more and more savvy shoppers on the coast, this store is a gem.