Eagle’s Habitat ReStore welcomes new director
March 6, 2016
EAGLE — Sometimes it takes some time away to realize how much you love a place. Sometimes your life experience prepares you for a job you didn't even know you wanted. And sometimes both of those things happen to the same person.
Just ask Craig Colby, the new manager at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Eagle, because that is exactly what happened to him.
Colby first moved to Eagle back in 1976 where his work career included stints managing the fixed-base operator at the Eagle County Airport and running his own business, Broadway Liquors. But back in 2013, he and his wife Diane moved to Midland/Odessa, Texas, where he went back to the airport business.
"Then the company I worked for was purchased by a competitor and then I remained on board for nine months. Then we decided we wanted to come home," said Colby. There wasn't any question about where "home" was. The Colbys returned to Eagle to take stock of their lives and decide what to do next. Then one day, Colby was reading the newspaper when he saw a help wanted ad for a manager at the ReStore.
"It appealed to me to be involved in the community," said Colby. He also thought his managerial and retail experiences would be an asset to the Habitat organization. The local Habitat board agreed and Colby started work as the ReStore director three weeks ago.
For shoppers who are looking for anything from a sofa to a teacup, the ReStore operates as an inviting retail option. But the store is that and much more.
Proceeds from the ReStore go toward construction of affordable housing for qualified families. Under the Habitat for Humanity model, families work alongside volunteers to help build the homes they ultimately own. To help finance the home projects, the ReStore accepts and sells donated items with a largely volunteer work force manning the sales floor. The operational model has a lovely symmetry — people who have stuff they don't need can donate the items and people who need something can buy it at a reduced price. Then, ultimately, the store helps meet one of this area's glaring needs — a lack of affordable housing.
"It really is a noble venture," said Colby.
One might think that staffing a store with volunteers would be a dicey proposition, but Colby said any retailer would be lucky to have a crew as dedicated as the ReStore workers.
"These people are giving of their time and effort, and I am so impressed," he said. "I bet all businesses wish they had group like this working for them."
With that said, Habitat is always looking for help, both on construction sites and at the store. "We will accept anyone doing anything he or she wants to do," said Colby. In his new job as ReStore director, Colby plans to do a lot of community outreach to bring in more volunteers and to raise the profile of what the story has to offer.
In that vein, the store has a lot.
"We get some truly expensive, beautiful items donated to us," said Colby, "and at times, we have people who want us to take trash."
The challenge of the job is to attract quality donations and gently discourage people from bringing in things that simply won't sell. Right now is a slower period of the ReStore season, but Colby knows things will pick up soon.
"We are looking forward to a big summer season, with all the remodels going on around the valley," he said. "And as the weather gets nice, people are cleaning out their garages and coming to us."
For those interested in donating items or volunteering time at the store or at a building site, Colby can be reached at 970-328-1119.