NEW GARDEN—After seven years, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in New Garden Township is closing.

“With the opening of our housing development in West Grove, we are shifting attention away from the store and more into the home building operation,” said Chip Huston, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Chester County. “It just wasn’t working for us. We wanted to focus on West Grove.”

The store, located at 345 Scarlett Road in the New Garden Center, will close on March 9, but donations at the store will be accepted until March 2. Until it closes, discounts of up to 75 percent are being offered at the store.

Habitat ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers. The items they sell are available to the public and similar to other home good stores. Donated items are sold to the public at a steep discount, and the profit supports Habitat’s mission to provide shelter to underprivileged families.

“We had seven years in Kennett, and that was a good run,” Huston said. “It just wasn’t making the impact for Habitat that we wanted it to. The lease was up so that forced us to make a decision, and we decided not to renew. They didn’t raise the rent. (The landlord) has been really good to us. Right now, our retail operation is ancillary to building houses.”

Huston said the Habitat ReStore in Caln Township at 1853 Lincoln Highway will remain open.

“We will still service southern Chester County with our trucks,” Huston said. “We are not stopping county service, just closing one of our outlets.”

Since being established in 1989, Habitat has built 152 homes in partnership with families in need, utilizing hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours. There are 46 Habitat homes in Coatesville, with the remainder in West Chester.

The typical Habitat buyer in Chester County has an annual household income between $25,000 and $50,000. The average annual household income in Chester County is $84,000.

Prospective homeowners not only have low incomes, but must have a history of paying their bills on time, and pass tests after taking classes on home maintenance and personal finance.

Habitat makes homes affordable by constructing simple 1,500-square-feet three-bedroom designs without garages, combined with creative financing using a combination of first and second mortgages. The goal is to keep total monthly housing costs at 30 percent of income, or about $800 per month. The typical rent for a single bedroom apartment in the Kennett area is $1,300 per month, so there is a substantial savings for the prospective homeowner, Huston said.

Huston said ground will be broken in early spring for a new 40-home development on 6.8 acres at the intersection of Guernsey and Willow streets at a total cost of $5 million. The people moving into the homes must complete training and supply at least 200 hours of their labor for construction. The project is expected to be completed in four to six years.

Habitat is offering free pick-up service to the entire Chester County area for large items such as furniture, appliances, cabinets, sinks, building supplies. Lawn equipment, refrigerators and more. To arrange a donation, visit http://restore.hfhcc.org/donations/restore-donation.

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