Lebanon, PA Habitat for Humanity Re-Build-It Store: a Partnership which Works
A Twist on Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores
Many of us know the great work done by Habitat for Humanity and of its spin-off, the "Re-Store." The list of Re-stores in the United States and Canada occupies pages and pages of web space. As Habitat states, these retail operation resell surplus and gently used building supplies to the public in order to fund its affiliates' house-building goals, provide low-cost materials to low income persons, and practice good stewardship of sustainable resources. However, in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania the Re-Store is a partnership with a Christian mission - a collaboration which works very well.
Front Door of the Store
A Good Kind of Mutant Store
Since the operation is not a true Habitat Re-Store, it could not use the Re-Store name. Thus, came the Re-Build-It moniker. However, it is a fantastic building supply store with many of the features of traditional habitat Re-Stores. The difference is that this store has something extra by partnering with Jubilee Ministries, a local service-based Christian charity.
Some of the Re-Build-It Wares
A Thrift Home Building Supply Store
First, though, here is what is the same. The store has all the fixtures and building blocks (lumber, bricks, parts, and so on) that one finds in an official Re-Store. The goods are sometimes new and often very gently used but totally acceptable. The difference between either a Re-Store or this Re-Build-It store and the big box stores is that inventory is unpredictable. Whatever comes in the door goes out on the floor. There is no "ordering" of inventory. It just happens.
I find the entire place to be captivating. Not only are the prices incredibly low, but the items are precious. Yes, some is close to the current trendy decorating or building ideas. On the other hand, many gently used lights or tools or cabinets are antiques. One can imagine the families which used the items or think about grandparents who also had tools like the ones for sale. It is both a store and a museum.
To me, this sort of thrift operation throws a gauntlet down to the frugal shopper. The budget-conscious home repairperson must weigh what is available, what is missing, his or her building goals, and the budget. A re- store throws in the monkey wrench of quirky goods. The used, close-to-antique items are a bonus and a puzzle. Can the shopper substitute a gently used material for the originally sought item? (Can the shopper even figure out what some of the goods are?) It challenges the needy person. Can she make it work? If she waits to sleep on the decision, will it be there next week? There is no special ordering in a Re-Store.
The Bonus Room
Bonus Feature: Thrift Store Housewares
The "extra" that exists in the Lebanon Re-Build-It Store is the back room with housewares. One does not see that in the big box stores or the traditional Habitat Re-Stores. Depending on what comes in the door, there may be craft supplies as well, or holiday decorations. of course, the prices are incredibly low.
Beggars CAN Be Choosers
When a person is down and out yet still has the desire to work and improve his or her living space, this store is a Godsend. The volunteers staff is incredibly helpful and the goods are quite serviceable. It is truly appropriate for a charity which has the goal of crreating the means for every human to have decent shelter (in other words, a home) to operate a Re-Store. or, in this cae, a Re-Build-It Store.
Where It Is
One finds this great store (with ample parking in front) on the north side of Route 422 in Annville, Pennsylvania. The address is
1445 E. Main Street
Annville, PA 17003
Photos and text copyright 2013 Maren E. Morgan.