Habitat for Humanity store to close next month

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore at the Norwin Hills Shopping Center will close its doors in January.

But the store, which opened in 2010, could come back to the area, according to Susann Camara, president of the Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity.

Camara said the organization is merging its services with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.

“In the middle of this merger, we didn't want to put forth the burden of a move,” Camara said. “In the future, we will probably look at opening another ReStore in the area, but it will just take us some time to get resettled with the merger.”

The board had expressed interest in moving into Norwin Towne Square but decided not to take further action until after the merger is completed, Camara said.

Camara said she did not know when the merger would be finalized.

William McCabe, a board member with Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity, said the store's lease with Excela Health, which purchased Norwin Hills Shopping Center in May, runs out Jan. 31.

The closure is based solely on the merger, not the store's performance, McCabe said.

“The store has been very, very successful, and the community really supported it, and this closure should just be temporary,” he said.

McCabe said the store is expected to maintain its regular business hours until it closes. The hours would be modified only based on a lack of volunteers or inventory, he said.

ReStore, which receives its inventory completely through donations, provides reused and recycled building items, such as lumber, windows and doors, along with some office and home furniture.

Its proceeds benefit the Habitat for Humanity, which is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for low-income families.

The Central Westmoreland affiliate began in 1996 and provided homes built or rehabilitated by volunteers to those in need. Upon receiving a home, residents paid a no-interest mortgage back to Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity to pay for the materials used to build the house.

Money brought in from the ReStore and no-interest mortgages go back into the organization to purchase more supplies to build more houses.

Habitat for Humanity operates 825 ReStore locations. Its locations in southwestern Pennsylvania include Edgewood, New Kensington and Beaver Falls.

McCabe said he expects Habitat for Humanity to open another store in Westmoreland County at some point. He described the merger as a positive change.

“Our affiliate is going to be much stronger and offer more services,” he said. “It's going to be a great thing, because we'll ultimately be able to help more people and build more houses.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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