ReStore marks 10 years of giving new life to old things


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Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013, 5:44 pm
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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com
DAVENPORT -- Diane Schreiner uses tiny pieces of hardware to make earrings.

As customer service manager forHabitat ReStore, she said she looks through ReStore scrap bins for other "jewelry merchandise."

"We're big on what we call 'repurposing,' " Ms. Schreiner said, adding thatReStore, 3629 Mississippi Ave., Davenport, has "repurposed" tons of materials since it opened 10 years ago.

"In 10 years, we have diverted 4,000 tons of materials from going to the landfill," she said. "Our sales have increased every year, and we have increased our funding to Habitat for Humanity every year. We have met and exceeded our goals."

The store's 10th anniversary celebration began earlier this month with a Jan. 10 Quad City Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting and will continue through the year with other special events.

Quad-Cities Habitat ReStore was created by director Cindy Kuhn and finance administrator Nancy Foster, who heard about similar organizations elsewhere in the country. Both have a passion for recycling, Ms. Schreiner said.

A grant from the Scott County Waste Commission got the ball rolling, and support from local businesses and builders quickly followed, she said."God bless the Quad-Cities for the donations of such high-quality stuff."

It helped ReStore grow from two employees to a staff of 11, with hundreds of volunteers, including 13 who have been involved from the start and 141 who donated a total of 18,222 hours last year, Ms. Schreiner said.

Sales have increased from about $100,000 the first year to just under $700,000 last year, she said.

Habitat ReStore accepts new and used building materials, furniture, appliances and even medical items and resells them at greatly reduced prices.

The "Health & Home" division, added last year, specializes in medical supplies. This month's feature, for example, is pediatric items, such as children's sized wheelchairs, walkers and crutches, as well as a huge inventory of supplies for adults, Ms. Schreiner said.

Furniture, added three years ago, has become a top seller, Ms. Schreiner said. ReStore also has a partnership with Midwest Technical Institute of Moline, whose students "make sure our appliances are in working order." she said.

Sales of smaller items also add up nicely, Ms. Schreiner said."Every nail, screw, washer and bolt counts. We sell a lot of 50-cent items, which may not seem like much, but we appreciate every dime we get."

She said they often ask customers how they learned about Restore."Most of the time they say they heard about us from a neighbor who had been here, so a lot of our growth has been by word of mouth."

The Quad-Cities ReStore is one of about 700 across the country, including 10 in Iowa and 16 in Illinois, Ms. Schreiner said.

Sometimes, they get some "weird" donations, she said.A list at restoreqc.org lists 10 of the most unusual donations, including Rock Island County Courthouse door knobs, zebra cabinet doors, a fire-truck toddler bed, a mint-green bathroom set and aset of goat castrators.

A glass display case near the store entrance included a set of antique billiard balls and some old grenade canisters. Ms. Schreiner said they recently received some used mannequins.

"We have no idea what might come in each day," she said. "Things change here daily, which makes it all sorts of fun."

Staff meetings always are filled with a great deal of laughter, she said. "It's enjoyable to come to work here every day. These people are my family."

Future plans include doing more community outreach projects and advertising, she said."We're getting better with social media, with our website, Facebook page, Twitter and Craig's List."

ReStore's website also has a link to diggerslist.com, a site specializing in home improvement classifieds, Ms. Schreiner said.

ReStore representatives run booths at summer farmer's markets and will set up at a Quad Cities Home Builders Association Home Show.

Ms. Schreiner said ReStore recently hosted a "Refuse Art Exhibit" by visiting artist Michelle Stitzlein, whospecializes in creating art from discarded objects, mostly bottle caps.





info box

For information on Habitat ReStore Quad Cities: www.restoreqc.org or (563) 391-4949.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
Donation drop-off hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays; and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays.
Health and home division hours: noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information, call (563) 349-7339.












 



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1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools.
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