Habitat for Humanity moving Restore, county HQ to Amherst

By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com

Water gushes into Habitat for Humanity’s Lorain location every time it rains, leading to illness and ruined furniture.

Those troubles will soon be history as the non-profit prepares to combine its home improvement store and Lorain County headquarters under one roof in Amherst.

Executive director Kelly La Rosa said Habitat for Humanity will open as early as Jan. 2 at 300 Rice Industrial Pkwy. She hopes to have the keys in hand this week.

“The site that we have in Lorain is blighted,” she told the News-Times. “The Amherst site is much newer, much cleaner. We’re very happy about this move.”

Both the organization’s Lorain ReStore and Elyria administrative offices will close, moving to the former On the Edge Honda building.

The motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle dealership, meanwhile, has moved a half-mile south to the former Arch Abraham Suzuki on Rt. 58.

La Rosa said the move will expand floor space for Habitat by about 5,000 square feet. The Amherst spot is also more open, which means shoppers won’t have to navigate hallways and smaller rooms to see items up for sale.

The ReStore sells new and gently-used donations such as appliances, mattresses, housewares, sinks, finances, tools, and building materials.

The operation only runs on Fridays and Saturdays in Lorain, but La Rosa is hopeful hours will expand to three days a week in Amherst and possibly more depending on sales and volunteer turn-out.

Profits from ReStore sales are plugged back into home building and remodeling projects that help low-income families.

The new location will also allow La Rosa and company to expand home-buyer education and home owner maintenance courses for the general public.

Relocation also means raising the non-profit’s visibility.

“My hope is that being at a better location we’re going to get more volunteer support for what we’re doing,” La Rosa said.

Expect signage changes at the new Habitat for Humanity offices in coming months. The agency is also working with Clark and Post Architects of Lorain on a site plan, which La Rosa hopes will include a drop location to make donating easy.

Habitat will bring two full-time and six part-time employees to Amherst, as well as scores of weekly ReStore volunteers. Through the year, the organization sees 300 to 500 people give their time and energy.

Meanwhile, donations will be accepted at the ReStore starting Friday, with weekend drop-off times. La Rosa said fixtures and sales racks are needed for the new site.

To give, call 440-322-2355. You can also visit www.loraincountyhabitat.org and click “Donation Pickup” to schedule a donation time.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk