Michael Straughn took to the podium, looked at the dozens of people on hand, and lifted a camera.
A selfie, a couple of voices murmered? No.
Straughn, ReStore director for the Truman Heritage chapter of Habitat for Humanity, took a 360-degree photo of the crowd. It was a day to commemorate.
On Wednesday, the chapter opened a ReStore in Blue Springs, an effort to raise money toward Habitat’s goal of providing decent and affordable housing.
“We’re ready to escalate the attack on poverty housing in Eastern Jackson County,” Straughn said.
The ReStore concept is this: Sell construction items, household fixtures and similar things that are donated or salvaged from demolition or remodeling work. A contractor might donate a few cans of paint left over from a project. A restaurant chain that remodels might salvage items for a second life. Customers save money, Habitat makes money, and less goes into landfills.
On Wednesday, the new store had lamps, dining room tables and chairs, paint, hand tools, a few power tools, even a toaster and a 10-cup coffee maker. In the back was a stainless steel refrigerator going for $3,745.50. The product mix changes day to day, and Habitat says many regular customers find that appealing, so they come back a lot.
The Truman Heritage chapter opened a similar in Independence in 2012, and Straughn has said this store would make the chapter self-sufficient.
“These ReStores are a real important part of helping us ... fulfill the mission of safe, decent and affordable housing in Eastern Jackson County,” said Matt Crimmins, president of the chapter’s board.
The store is at 1215 N. Missouri 7, where 84 Lumber once operated. Pointe of Hope Church owns the space now, and its church is in a large space to the back. It worked with Habitat to put the ReStore out front, closer to drive-by traffic. (Mayor Carson Ross, noting the spot’s turnaround, playfully pointed out the Dunkin’ Donuts store under construction there as well.)
Pastor Brian Hetzel of Pointe of Hope talked of Habitat’s work and cited Matthew 25, with the familiar Bible passage that includes “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink” followed by Christ saying “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”
“He (God) wants us to help the poor and downtrodden,” Hetzel said.
Habitat has been in Eastern Jackson County for 25 years and has in recent years expanded its programs, building more homes and undertaking a program to help with minor home repairs. Those who get a Habitat home assist in the construction. The chapter’s executive director, Pat Turner, said the new ReStore will help the chapter extend more deeply into Buckner and Grain Valley, as well as Blue Springs.
She also thanked the volunteers and other local organizations Habitat works with.
“We really can’t do any of this without the collaboration of all our partners,” she said.