ReStore offers hardware and hope to community

ReStore, located at 540 Lycoming St., is on a mission to support the local community. An integral part of Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity, the city store offers a wealth of marketable hardware and building products to the general public.

If you’re a weekend warrior, small contractor, landlord, artist or crafter, ReStore might have just what you’re looking for.

“It seems ReStore is Williamsport’s best kept secret for finding great quality bargains,” said Ana White, home development coordinator at Habitat. “We would like that to change. There’s no reason not to start here when building or renovating on a budget.”

ReStore profits are used by Habitat to help fund construction projects in the local area. A non-profit ecumenical housing ministry, Habitat partners with responsible families who otherwise would not be able to afford decent housing.

“In addition to brand-new inventory donated by manufacturers, building supply stores, contractors, and individuals, we offer overstocked, seconds, gently used, discontinued, and salvaged materials, said Jenny Thorsen, ReStore manager since 2011. “Our prices are very affordable. All items are 50 to 75 percent off retail. We have orphaned treasures here just waiting to find a new home.”

A walk through ReStore reveals a wide variety of stock: kitchen cabinets, a commercial refrigerator and freezer, windows, doors, lighting fixtures, restoration hardware, wood trim, bathtubs, toilets, paints, restaurant tables and chairs and the nuts and bolts to complete many jobs.

That represents just a fraction of the total inventory housed in more than 7,000 square feet of floor space. Thorsen said, “I’d like to say we have all but the kitchen sink, but I can’t. We have several of them.”

ReStore recently received four sets of kitchen cabinets from the Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village in Lewisburg.

“We are so grateful for generous people who see the big picture,” said White. “A simple donation to ReStore helps our whole community. We are able to offer families with children a chance to feel the pride and dignity associated with owning a home while revitalizing our neighborhoods. That’s our mission.”

Approximately 80 tons of materials were diverted from the landfill in the store’s first full year of operation in 2009 and more than 50 tons in its most recent fiscal year.

Thorsen noted that approximately 1.3 pounds of materials are diverted from the Lycoming County landfill for every dollar spent at ReStore. The local enterprise is part of a system of more than 900 Habitat ReStores in the United States and Canada. Funds generated stay within the Greater Lycoming area, benefitting local families and communities.

ReStore does not accept some items like computer electronics, upholstered furniture, mattresses or any kind of hazardous materials. Anyone who has a question about the suitability of a donation should call the Habitat office at 322-2515.

“Items can be dropped off at ReStore during regular business hours, but we also offer free local pickup of larger donations,” said Thorsen. All donors receive a detailed receipt suitable for tax purposes.

“Don’t smash your unwanted, usable goods with a sledgehammer like you sometimes see on TV,” Thorsen said. “Donate them.”

Donations are accepted at the store 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Store business hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Habitat homes are built or rehabilitated primarily with volunteers using money contributed by supporters, according to Tina McDowell, executive director of the local Habitat affiliate. Families must go through a selection process that includes income verification and determination of credit-worthiness and financial responsibility.

Families that qualify for Habitat homes pay their mortgages back over a 30-year period with no interest. They are also required to work 250 hours for each adult in the household as sweat equity, with 100 hours working on their own homes.

These are hard-working families with a real need who work with volunteers not only to build homes but also to build strong relationships and give back to the communities where they live.

Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity serves Lycoming, Bradford, Tioga and eastern Clinton counties. For more information on how to volunteer time or make a donation, visit or contact Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity at 540 Lycoming St., or call 322-2515. Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity also can be found on Facebook.