Austin Habitat for Humanity's ReStore uses discount home improvement to build communities
Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore’s building is four-star certified by the Austin Energy Green Building program, in part due to its electricity use being powered by solar panels. (Courtesy Austin Habitat for Humanity)
Located on Ben White Boulevard is the rare store that offers not just sustainable construction materials, but clothes, appliances, jewelry, furniture and the odd novelty item—Austin Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, which Vice President of Retail Operations William Stockton calls the “superstore of the nonprofit world.” “We look at ourselves as a huge home improvement discount store and donation drop-off center, but also ... we’re kind of like a unique thrift store,” Stockton said. ReStore’s sales help fund Austin Habitat for Humanity, a Central Texas affiliate of the national affordable home-building nonprofit that serves Travis, Hays, Bastrop, Blanco and Caldwell counties. While Habitat uses new building materials, ReStore’s donated materials appeal to customers who are seeking a unique flair for projects, Stockton said. In addition to donated items, the store offers some custom pieces, and consults for certain items that require measurements, such as cabinets. The store also stocks new merchandise so that do-it-yourselfers working on complex home projects have access to all they need. “We want to be sure that if you’re coming to shop with us, you’re not having to make a second stop,” Stockton said. Founded in 1992, the Austin ReStore was the first of its kind in the United States. There are now more than 900 ReStore locations in country, including one in San Marcos and a location forthcoming in Northwest Austin this fall. Together, the Austin and San Marcos ReStores divert around 4 million pounds of reusable material each year, according to Austin Habitat for Humanity. “We encourage the community to shop ReStore first, not only because it’s sustainable, but because it has a good mission,” ReStore Marketing Manager Jamie Hatton said. -- Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore 500 W. Ben White Blvd., Austin 512-478-2165 www.austinhabitat.org/restore, www.shopaustinrestore.com Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Correction: This story was updated to reflect that Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore offers custom-order cabinets as well as donated cabinets, but does not build custom cabinets from reclaimed items in-house.