More than 50 community members recently gathered to witness the official opening of Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore facility on County Road 10 in Canandaigua. The Ontario County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity is a retail outlet where new and gently used home furnishings and quality surplus building materials are sold for a fraction of their original retail value, with the profits from the sale of these donated items going toward Habitat’s next building project.
Initially working out of private homes, the Ontario County affiliate has consolidated their operation in the newly restored building in Canandaigua, giving the organization a central location for the first time in its 20-year history.
Some of those in attendance included Jay Dutcher, chief of staff for U.S. Congressman Tom Reed; Sam Casella, Canandaigua Town Supervisor; and Ken Allen, board president for the Ontario County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity (H4H). Organizer of the event was Mark Wenderlich, Lighting Designer and Technical Director for Dance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
“In the past, we have only been able to have volunteers work for six to eight weeks during the year, because once the work was finished, we had nowhere else to send them. Now, with a central location, we can keep the volunteers because they can do side projects or work in the facility,” explains Habitat co-Treasurer Greg Schwarz.
The grand opening marks the most recent contribution by HWS faculty, staff and students to Ontario County s Habitat for Humanity efforts. Over the past few years, Hobart and William Smith students have formed a chapter of Habitat for Humanity, provided $20,000 to build a house in Geneva, and remain included in Day of Service activities.
Habitat volunteers work in partnership with responsible low-income families to construct inexpensive but sturdy homes. The families purchase the homes on a no-profit, no-interest basis, usually with a 25-year mortgage and are required to spend 400 hours working on the house. While Habitat does not make a profit from the sale of the house, the family’s mortgage payments are used to continue building houses for other people.
“This is a worthwhile program because it is not a handout to needy families; instead, the families are putting sweat equity into their homes by helping to build it right alongside the volunteers. This organization teaches people that what you put in determines what you get out of it, demonstrating to people that if they’re willing to work, there are people to help them reach their goals,” explains Dutcher, who, on behalf of Congressman Reed, presented the Ontario County Habitat affiliate with a Certificate of Recognition for their dedication to improving and serving the Canandaigua community.
The new facility is located at 3040 County Road 10 in the former Finger Lakes Fitness and Racquet Club.
In the photo above, Mark Wenderlich stops for a photo at the opening of the ReStore facility.