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Columbia County Habitat for Humanity to buy St. Helens building

by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - The ReStore will soon be selling donated Christmas trees for $10 each, Blank said. The service will provide a source for cheap, quality trees within the county, as well as bring in revenue for the ReStore during the holidays. The Columbia County Habitat for Humanity plans to buy the St. Helens property it started renting in May to run its ReStore — a nonprofit home improvement store and donation site located at 164 Little St.

As of press time, the organization was waiting to hear back from the St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union (the building’s current owner) as to the final terms of the sale. Bill Blank, executive director of CCHH, said Monday, Nov. 25, that he expected to hear back soon.

“We’re trying to close [the deal]. Everything has been moving along,” Blank said. “It’s not quite official. We’re gonna hear within the next day or so.”

Blank chose not to go into the specifics of the cost to purchase the property, but said the cost is well within CCHH’s budget.

“It’s worked out for us,” Blank said. “We’re doing really well with the store. We look forward to being around for a long time. It’s an ideal location for us.”

Blank said the ReStore operates by selling donated home-improvement items in order to generate money for building homes within Columbia County.

“We’re operating where we expected to be,” Blank added. “In some cases, we’re actually doing better than we expected to be.”

Habitat for Humanity’s current housing project is located on Sykes Road in St. Helens.

The organization has so far laid the foundation for a new road which will be paved at some point before the end of the week, Blank said.

We had to run sewer lines, that’s in the process of being completed,” he said. “Then we can start. The first home, we hope to start before the end of the year with a foundation.”

Blank said three homes will eventually be built at the site off Sykes road and he hopes to have most of them complete by 2015. So far, one of the homes is already reserved.

“We have a family selection committee,” Blank said. “They’ve already selected one family.”

Habitat for Humanity selects families for its homes based on income, Blank said. Those who qualify do not pay interest, so their monthly payments are about half of what they would be otherwise. Blank added that selected families have to prove they have steady income, show they can make payments and must put in 500 hours toward construction of their home or for the organization.

Blank said although the ReStore had a variety of tools and home-improvement supplies, the store’s biggest seller is furniture. Blank added that Dave Marble, ReStore’s manager, recently sold a bed set valued at $8,000 for only $850.

“We’re always looking for good, quality items,” Blank said. “Furniture, appliances, we do get a lot of. Mattresses are fine if they’re in good, good condition and are 2007 or newer, because of fire retardant laws.”

The ReStore also accepts scrap metal donations in a drop-box outside the store. It is open for business Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.