Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bargains galore at your neighborhood ReStore

My unemployed friend just bought a dryer for $75.

The owners of Blue (619 West Main Street, Downtown Peoria), purchased seven chandeliers that they spray painted in various shades of blue and silver for their new bar/restaurant.

And most of my finished basement is outfitted in "early ReStore".

If you haven't heard of this place, you're not alone. Though they do a bit of TV and print advertising, I'm not sure that people know exactly the treasures that can be found at this Habitat for Humanity- based store located on Main Street in Peoria.

The Peoria ReStore opened its doors in 2005 behind what was then Shirley's Thrift shop at the corner of Main and Douglas Streets. Expansion into the vacated Shirley's area in January of 2007 increased their retail space to 12,000 square feet. While first year sales totaled $150,000, in 2007 they exceeded $250,000, and have been growing by leaps and bounds in both quantity and revenue ever since.

So what's in it for you? Check it out for yourself and see.

Furniture and kitchen cabinets are their best sellers. Sometimes the items come in different levels of "used", but more often than not they are in great shape. Other times they're brand new, like various mismeasured items from local contractors or surplus inventory from home improvement stores. The latest delivery was a truckload of countertops of various lengths and more office furniture than the place can handle. There's a whole "lighting department" - run by my dad. I can assure you that every light in the place has been engineer tested and approved.

Other items to shop for, or to donate:
-Furniture including couches, chairs, end tables, entertainment centers, dining room and kitchen tables and chairs, barstools and office furniture
-Artwork. In fact, my mother, the "interior decorator" for ReStore, discovered a first edition Picasso print several months ago
-Carpet remnants, tile, and other flooring materials
-Building supplies
-Appliances (no TVs)
-Ceiling fans
-Hardware, tools and wood
-Windows and doors (I have several ReStore doors in my home - just write down the measurements and take them in!)

It doesn't matter who you are or what your income is - it makes sense to shop ReStore. It's as perfect for college students needing to outfit their first apartment to the handyman looking to improve his home without breaking the bank.

It's been invaluable to renovators such as Jeff Shoumaker, who remodels and rents homes as a hobby. "I've tried to fix things right to save time and money down the road. ReStore has an ever-changing supply of much of what I need to improve a property."

It was gold mine for Blue owner Jessica Benassi, who said, "We did buy our chandeliers at ReStore! We have 7 of them that we bought and spray painted in various shades of blue and silver. We're actually going back for more soon - we'd like to cover our ceiling in them. We also got all of our tile and mirror for our beautiful mosaic bar from ReStore and a chair that was only $4.00 that everybody absolutely loves. We also got our front door from them. I love ReStore. We re-did our bathroom at our house with tile and fixtures from them - and there's a ReStore chandelier in there, too! We send people there all of the time and I'm always surprised at the amount of people that don't seem to know that it's even there."

And it's been a blessing to people like me, who just need a "this and that" every once in awhile. I'm on a tight budget, but still trying to maintain and improve my home. ReStore items that now call my house a home include an upholstered chair, a filing cabinet, two doors, some cabinets, and a ceiling fan. And I'm always on the lookout for another great bargain.

I encourage you to check out one of Peoria's best-kept bargain secrets and support the Habitat for Humanity project. Visit their website HERE for their location, hours and list of items they do and don't accept. And if you're not in the Peoria area, check out Habitat for Humanity's ReStore page to find a ReStore near you.

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