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Habitat for Humanity ReStore still has plans for North Bay

Real estate costs and the availability of suitable properties in North Bay have been key barriers for Habitat for Humanity entering the North Bay market as a not-for-profit, start-up retail business

When Habitat for Humanity announced in 2017 that it was going to open one of its popular ReStore outlets in North Bay, there was great excitement.

It never happened.

But the company insists it is still interested in locating here, it's just hit a few bumps in the road.

See: Habitat for Humanity ReStore to open here

A spokesperson last year told BayToday that a suitable location for a ReStore couldn't be found, but the opening still remains in the plans for Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North. 

"Real estate costs and availability of suitable properties in North Bay have been key barriers for Habitat for Humanity entering the North Bay market as a not-for-profit, start-up retail business," said Jane Clark, Director, Communications.

"We have been assessing feasibility and actively seeking partners, with a focus on commercial landlords, for many years. Efforts ceased with the onset of the pandemic. The financial impact of COVID-19 was negative and significant. We are now recovering and a North Bay ReStore remains a part of our future plans. With cost being a major factor in our ability to bring a ReStore to the North Bay market, we're keen to build strong partnerships. As a charity, we have the ability to offer charitable tax receipts to commercial landlords for any portion of rent donated and we'd be interested in hearing from anyone interested in such a partnership."

The Habitat for Humanity North Bay & Blue Sky Chapter Facebook page has been inactive for the past three years due to the pandemic.

"As with so many things, the pandemic has further changed the real estate market," said Meghan Taylor, Director of ReStore Operations. "We continue to search for a location in North Bay in order to open a ReStore there but have not yet found the optimal space."

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores are clearing centres for donated new and gently used construction materials and household goods, with all proceeds going to support, promote, and financially enable the mission of Habitat for Humanity.

ReStores ensure that 100 percent of all donations go to Habitat, plus profit from the stores themselves is dedicated to Habitat’s affordable homeownership program.

See: Habitat for Humanity allows family to literally come home

The organization’s model is to recruit volunteer help and donated materials to build decent, basic housing on land that is often donated or provided at low-cost.

Selected hard-working families that wouldn’t qualify for a conventional bank mortgage are offered a chance to purchase the Habitat home at fair market value under an interest-free mortgage. That purchase comes only after the family has invested 500 hours of voluntary ‘sweat equity’ with Habitat or in approved community service. Once a year, mortgage payments are re-aligned to the family’s annual income.

Meanwhile, the Huntsville ReStore will remain at Huntsville Place Mall on King William Street for another three years. After five years in its present location, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North has signed on to extend the lease for an additional 36 months.

“Sometimes I feel like we’re Huntsville’s best-kept secret,” says ReStore manager Amanda White. “But our regulars know that the key is to come in often for the best finds."

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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