A partnership between nonprofit Habitat for Humanity and Big George’s Home Appliance Mart has mutually benefited both entities.
Sarah Stanton, executive director of Habitat for Humanity’s local chapter, says she approached Mark Bishar at Big George’s on behalf of Habitat’s Restore about six months ago. The ReStore, which sells recycled materials and building supplies, was looking for ways to keep new appliances coming into the store at 170 Aprill Drive, located just off Jackson Road.
“We sell donated new and used appliances, and Big George’s sells new appliances,” Stanton says.
When Big George’s workers remove an old appliance from a customer’s home, they immediately bring it to the ReStore. The item is checked and fixed, if it doesn’t work properly, and then resold.
Stanton says the partnership has helped Habitat for Humanity bump up sales at the ReStore. Plus, it helps generate unrestricted revenue for Habitat — money that’s not needed for heat or electric or salaries, and can be used for rehabilitating Habitat homes.
According to its January newsletter, Habitat is on track to renovate 10 houses this year, in its 20th anniversary of providing affordable housing for low-income families in Washtenaw County. In Ypsilanti alone, there are 29 Habitat houses.
In 2009, Habitat homeowners paid $200,455 in property taxes to Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Superior and Ypsilanti townships. Six houses were completed and sold in 2009 and five of which were rehabilitated.
Habitat has now helped 103 adults and 205 children live in affordable homes in the county.
“It’s extremely meaningful and valuable to us,” Stanton says, adding that these are appliances are fixed up and recycled and don’t end up in a landfill somewhere.
The ReStore has two people who test and fix the appliances, and get the washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves and freezers back out on the floor, Stanton says
Stanton says that sales are up 45 percent at the ReStore thanks to the partnership.
“Mark helps us look at how to market our store, as well,” Stanton says, adding “Big George’s has helped us get more exposure.”
By Lisa Allmendinger, Heritage Newspapers
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