New Habitat ReStore to reduce cost of operations |

New Habitat ReStore to reduce cost of operations

Carla Jean Whitley

About 80,000 people live from Aspen to Parachute. Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley's ReStore brings in $2.35 million in sales annually. That works out to be $29.50 per capita.

The next-highest ReStore per-capita figure in the country? $6.

When the organization's new, permanent ReStore location opens next winter, it will become even more efficient — and that means even more effective use of its money.

The organization's president, Scott Gilbert, shared those numbers during the new facility's groundbreaking Thursday. The building will be located across the cul-de-sac from the current Colorado 82 location, to be named Calaway Court after donors Connie and Jim Calaway. It's a significant step forward for the organization, which is on its way to becoming a sustainable nonprofit that directs all donations toward its mission of building affordable houses.

The facility last relocated seven years ago from near Cattle Creek.

"Relocating the ReStore was a complete distraction from our mission," said RFV Habitat chair and Alpine Bank chief administrative officer Tom Kenning. Alpine Bank is the project's construction lener. Building this location, though, means it's the last move.

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"This means a real sense of permanence," said Gilbert, who noted the current locations are on short-term leases. "This project means a foundation for the future."

The new store will be longer than a football field, sans end zones, with 40,500 square feet of space. It's so successful in part because of the high-end goods donated and resold at the shop; although its sales per capita are impressive, it is only Colorado's second-largest ReStore location. The shop will make for easier drop-off and pick-up and allow the organization to accept more donations.

The building will incorporate efficiencies that reduce its carbon footprint, and a low interest rate from USDA-Rural Development will decrease the amount the organization pays monthly.

"It's really important for us to help provide affordable housing throughout the valley," said USDA Acting State Director Ted Buelow.

Capping costs through the 35-year loan, which carries an interest rate of less than 3 percent, means Habitat won't have to face rising rent costs. The $8 million facility will also create about 20 new jobs.

Gilbert said, "Isn't it ironic we finally believe in for ourselves what we believe in for our clients — home ownership?"