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Central Westmoreland ReStore outlet seeks new quarters

| Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

The lease for the Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity's ReStore location in a North Huntingdon shopping center ended last week, and the nonprofit will pursue a new location along with a renewed mission to build homes for local people in need.

With “several big sales,” the store sold all of its stock of furniture and building material, and the space in Norwin Hills plaza has been cleaned up, Executive Director Jim Miller said.

Excela Health bought Norwin Hills, and Excela plans to use the ReStore building's space for expansion.

Miller, who served as ReStore manager for three years, said the store's lease ended Jan. 31.

“We're going to pursue (a new location in central Westmoreland County),” Miller said. “I really don't think it's going to happen until later in the year.”

The Central Westmoreland group has a new board of 19 directors, and the goal is to “get everybody knowledgeable on the housing side,” said Miller, of New Stanton. Several previous board members resigned, he said.

“Once that gets under way, we're going to need a ReStore to stay sustainable,” he said.

ReStore accepts donated home improvement items, which are resold to the public. Proceeds help to fund construction of new and refurbished homes.

“ReStore provides an environmentally and socially responsible way to keep good, reusable materials out of the waste stream,” Habitat said in a news release.

“That's what ReStore is — it's obviously to raise money to build houses, but at the same time, it's selling discounted items to the community,” Miller said.

The Norwin Avenue location opened in January 2010.

“Because of the store closing, there has been an outcry of people ... ‘What can we do to save the store?'” Miller said.

The organization is really about building homes, he said, adding that he tells community members that people are needed to get involved by serving on the board and helping to build homes.

In 2010, the group purchased a house and used ReStore money to rehabilitate it. Since then, the group has nearly completed a second house in Grapeville, he said.

Already, another family has been selected for a house rehabilitation project, and Miller expects plenty of building activity within the next year.

Habitat also plans to help people who need repairs or modifications to their homes, such as wheelchair ramps.

A similar organization in Mt. Pleasant has reported an uptick in business now that ReStore has closed, said Kim Giles, manager at Shop Demo Depot, located at One Cooks Way. The store, which is not affiliated with Habitat for Humanity, opened in April.

The nonprofit recycles and reuses materials, helping to fund Westmoreland Community Action and its programs, including Head Start and an emergency food bank.

Shop Demo Depot is affiliated with Westmoreland Community Action, Community Action Southwest and Fayette County Community Action Agency.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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