Think you know everything there is to know about the ReStore?
Read on for a little insider information that only ReStore staff and volunteers know.
Insider Information: Purchased Product
Purchasing product to sale is a practice that some ReStores have adopted in an effort to increase funds raised for their Habitat for Humanity. The Internal Revenue Service says that 501 (c)(3) nonprofits can remain exempt from income tax as long as “substantially all” of the items being sold are donated. Legal experts usually interpret this to mean no more than 15% of gross sales should be from purchased product.
At the ReStores of Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam (every Habitat is independent and locally operated), only 7% of our sales come from purchased product. We stock small purchased items like toilet rings, caulking and paint brushes to accompany the sale of our donated products, making it easier for our customers to buy what they need to complete a home improvement project.
Every once in a while, we purchase an order of discontinued merchandise from a liquidating company. Did you notice all the BLUE-TAG furniture at the front of the Charleston ReStore? This was a one-time purchase. We mark the items 50% of the retail price. That means the ReStore usually has a 25% markup on the purchased product we sale. Retailers usually have 50-250% and some times more.
Insider Information: Inventory Levels
Because the vast majority of our merchandise is donated by people like you, we never know what will be dropped off from one day to the next. It’s very exciting, but not knowing what’s coming makes it hard to organize a big store. We use a few different techniques to manage inventory levels of our donated product.
If we suddenly have too many doors to fit into our door racks, we run a 25% off door sale. The excitement these departmental promotions create is usually enough to get the category back to a manageable level in a week or two.
We also use our e-newsletter coupons to control inventory levels. One of the best examples of this strategy is our FREE CHAIR coupon. We are fortunate to have hundreds of great business donors that donate thousands of office chairs throughout the year. But sometimes we have chairs coming out of our ears, and that’s when we send our customers that very special coupon.
Sign up here for our e-newsletter so you can get great coupons too!
Insider Information: Sales Goals
The ReStore has sales goals and we strive to achieve our goals every day. This requires hours of planning, back-breaking work, a positive attitude, and a special kind of resilience that those who works with the public must maintain.
Before we can raise money for Habitat for Humanity, we must cover the expense of owning and maintaining a big facility and all the additional operational expenses that come with running a store (supplies, payroll, equipment, etc).
We work hard to meet our sales goal because at the beginning of every year we make a commitment. We essentially promise Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha and Putnam that we will generate a certain amount of money to go toward the construction of Habitat for Humanity homes. This is an important commitment that Habitat for Humanity uses to plan the number of houses they can build in the upcoming year.
Each number represents a family.
After a home buyer is chosen by the Habitat for Humanity Homeowner Selection Committee, they enter into a year-long program of sweat equity, homeowner education, and financial training. Along with private donations and mortgage payment from earlier houses, ReStore proceeds make the construction possible.
Building a house is expensive and if we fail to deliver on our committee our partners will suffer.
This year, along with years past, the ReStore is keeping its commitment. Our loyal and generous donors are keeping our shelves full and our shoppers are keeping the cash register ringing.