Habitat for Humanity opens new ReStore location in Gypsum
The nonprofit is celebrating the grand opening with a weekend of events
GYPSUM — On Thursday morning, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley opened the doors to its new ReStore location in Gypsum.
At the ribbon cutting, John Welaj, executive director of the local Habitat affiliate, praised the staff, the board and the community for achieving a milestone that was five years in the making.
“I can’t believe this day is finally here for all of us. We’ve been talking about this for a good five years,” Welaj said. “This is one of the biggest milestones that this Habitat affiliate has ever achieved. It’s just amazing seeing what a group of people can do when they’re all working together.”
Five years ago, Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley was drafting a new strategic plan and realized that upgrading the store should make the list.
“When we came to the ReStore part of the conversation, we thought, ‘We can do better than having a store behind a carwash somewhere, and have something that would really be a cornerstone for us,'” said Stuart Green, who served as Habitat’s board president at the time, at Thursday’s ribbon cutting.
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By the time the perfect location came up — the former Mountain Living storeroom in Gypsum — the pandemic hit and delayed the organization’s plan until 2021.
While Green referenced some complications along the way — including a government shutdown, a pandemic and securing financing — the local Habitat affiliate was ultimately able to close on the property and bring new life to the ReStore arm of the organization.
“You look at this: we have a loading dock, two garages, a freight elevator, this gorgeous building, highly visible from Highway 6, everything we could’ve possibly wanted,” Green said.
Habitat for Humanity was able to purchase the property thanks to donations and community support as well as by securing a loan through the United States Department of Agriculture rural development program.
In purchasing the building, Welaj said the organization was “going to put some stakes in the ground here for quite some time.”
Not only that, but he added the opening was “a special opportunity for us to go back to our roots here in Gypsum,” as the local Habitat had its first Home Outlet store in Gypsum from 2004 to 2010 before moving to the Eagle location in 2010.
“This is one very nice store, and I’m glad you guys finally decided to come back home,” said Gypsum Mayor Steve Carver on Thursday.
Furthering the mission
ReStore plays an important role in the mission of the Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley because 100% of the profits from the store go toward home building — which now more than ever is critical to the Eagle County community.
“One of the greatest problems facing Eagle County is the lack of affordable housing stock. Teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters — their ability to live where they work is in real jeopardy,” said Elyse Howard, director of development for Habitat Vail Valley. “When Habitat’s first Home Outlet in Gypsum opened, sales from donated items were funneled right back into the community. Twenty years later, the ReStore is an important funding aspect of our mission to build more homes for hardworking locals.”
This year, the organization is currently building its hundredth home after breaking ground on eight new homes last summer.
In addition to providing funding for critical housing projects, ReStore serves as a critical resource for local residents to both donate and receive household items.
ReStore accepts donations of gently used items including appliances, furniture, lighting and more. Since 2007, this has allowed the organization to divert 5,042 tons of usable materials from the county landfill. And on the flip side, it provides an affordable purchasing option for locals as the cost of living and rent continues to rise, said Ann Logel, Habitat Vail Valley’s ReStore manager.
Not only will the new ReStore location increase visibility to this community resource, but with more than double the amount of square footage, it will allow the organization to expand its efforts.
“For the last several years, we have been growing out of that space on Chambers Avenue. We’ve had to turn away really good donations because we don’t have room for them, and so this is a great opportunity for us to be able to accept more of those donations and then it just increases everything,” Logel said.
“It increases the amount of furniture we can keep out of the landfill, it increases the amount of buying options for people that need affordable furniture and as such, our profits go up and more can go toward building Habitat houses,” she added.
To celebrate the new storefront and re-introduce it to the community, ReStore is hosting a number of events this weekend including sales, food trucks and more.
“We all are just really so excited about it. We just wanted to have a party to celebrate it,” Logel said. “We’ve been closed for a couple of weeks, and it’s just a fun way to welcome everyone back and show off our new space.”
To learn more about ReStore, visit HabitatVailValley.org.
What: Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley ReStore Grand Opening
Where: 250 Lindbergh Drive, Gypsum
Friday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bouncy House, face painting and a spin the prize wheel
Saturday, June 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cars + Coffee, Rocky Mountain Taco Truck and a Buy More, Save More sale