WOODSTOCK – Preparing for the opening of Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Jerry Monica had been told to expect to lose money in year one, break even in year two, and finally pull a profit in year three.
Instead, Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County’s executive director has seen, since the late February opening, his new endeavor take off on a path toward $300,000 in first-year sales. Management at the Woodstock ReStore – which sells new and gently used furniture, home accessories and appliances – hadn’t projected those kinds of numbers until the business had stabilized.
The ReStore has in six months surpassed the $100,000 sales goal it had set for the year, and is bringing in between $25,000 and $30,000 a month, Monica said.
“We’ve come out of the box very strong,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of great support from the communities of McHenry County and Woodstock, and we have a strong donor base.”
Monica attributes much of that success to community donations, which have kept the store’s selection fresh and in turn allowed the store to establish repeat customers.
ReStore gets donations both from individuals and from businesses. In particular, the store has had success offering to take out appliances homeowners are replacing, which saves the homeowner money and time needed to discard the old appliance.
The store then sells those appliances at reduced prices.
“Where else can you buy a washing machine for $100?” Monica said.
Revenue from ReStores is becoming increasingly key for Habitat for Humanity as the nonprofit deals with decreasing government funding.
About three years ago, Habitat of McHenry County received about $150,000 in federal grant money. This year, it expects to receive about $81,000, Monica said.
“The writing is on the wall that we need to be more self-sufficient,” Monica said.
He added that funds they raise themselves don’t come with the same restrictions that grant funds carry.
“It’s pleasing to know that we aren’t going to be as dependent on that as we have been in the past,” he said.