Re-opening, new partnerships in time for Habitat’s 20th anniversary

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published December 13, 2012

MOUNT CLEMENS — There was substantial damage to the south wall of the Macomb County Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore location on Groesbeck after a man accidentally drove his Ford Explorer into the 30,000-square-foot facility in late October.

Fortunately, there were no injuries as a result of the Oct. 26 collision — the driver was transported to McLaren Hospital after complaining of a loss of control in his right leg — and thanks to the many volunteers and those who work with Macomb County Habitat for Humanity (MCHFH) and ReStore, the retail outlet was up and running the next day.

Michael Terenzi Jr., marketing and public relations manager for the MCHFH, said the store was only closed for the remainder of the day of the collision, but a temporary wall allowed them to continue business as usual until the wall was completely re-done.

“Some of the furniture that had been for sale was damaged as well, furniture that was donated to us, but that was replaced,” he said, and the sales on the remaining new and used furniture and household items commenced as usual.

“We are so thankful that no one was hurt when the vehicle came into the building and that the driver escaped with no apparent external injuries,” said Helen Hicks, executive director of the MCHFH. “We keep him (the driver), and all of our customers and vendors in our prayers.”

The Macomb County ReStore first opened its doors in 2005 to serve Habitat for Humanity’s mission of eliminating substandard housing and improving the community by providing discounted home improvement items, such as furniture, appliances, flooring needs, doors, sinks, toilets, and electrical and plumbing needs.

And through proceeds from sales, ReStore provides financial support for the MCHFH, which recently celebrated the completion of its 100th home and marked the occasion with a Nov. 17 celebration and massive donation drive to replace those furniture items damaged in the collision. The event was emceed by Detroit television and radio personality Jay Towers and Fresh 100.3-FM.

Originally located in Clinton Township, ReStore occupied a building that allowed for roughly 5,000 square feet of sales floor. As the ReStore’s business grew, Terenzi said the need for a larger store was obvious. In 2010, it was moved to its current location in Mount Clemens. It is now operating with a sales floor just more than 30,000 square feet. There are 44 ReStore outlets around Michigan, and the Mount Clemens location is the third largest in the state.

“It’s very popular with landlords and those people who do a lot of home improvement work,” Terenzi said.

St. Clair Shores resident Greg O’Connor shops ReStore frequently, both for his own needs and for the work he has done in the past for Habitat.

“Right now, I’m looking for an entertainment center. I just got a new flat-screen television,” said O’Connor, who was shopping at the store on Dec. 11. “They have very fair prices.”

Terenzi said ReStore is both a retail outlet and a donation collection center for new and used items, including hardware, building materials and paint, which they tint on site with 10 colors and three finishes — semi-gloss, flat and eggshell.

“Items we are unable to use, such as a broken appliance, we recycle (through a partnership with Great Lakes Recycling), so we’re also working to keep garbage from the landfills,” said Terenzi.

ReStore does donation pick-ups anywhere in Macomb County three days a week, and donations can be dropped off anytime during their regular business hours. ReStore does not sell or take donations of children’s furniture or clothing.

And the income generated from ReStore goes specifically toward expanding the building and construction programs of the MCHFH, Terenzi said.

“Anyone can shop and anyone can donate to the ReStore,” he said.

Terenzi said ReStore has many partnerships like the one they have with Great Lakes Recycling. They get 45 truckloads of donated furniture (an estimated 1,000 pieces) from one local furniture retailer each year. The company —Terenzi said the furniture supplier wishes to remain anonymous — donates items that are slightly damaged and ReStore sells them for around 75 percent off the retail price.

Most recently, on Dec. 10,  officials from UAW-Ford agreed to partner with the MCHFH in 2013 and provide labor valued at more than $20,000. The partnership, which is a gift to celebrate MCHFH’s 20th anniversary next week, also means the UAW-Ford will be providing a minimum of five volunteers, three days every week, during the year.

“Our commitment to working people in the community doesn’t end when our workers walk out the plant gate,” said UAW Vice President and Director Jimmy Settles in a prepared statement about the partnership. “Our responsibility to the communities where our members work and live goes far beyond building reliable, safe vehicles. It extends to helping organizations like Habitat for Humanity to continue the work that enriches the lives of our neighbors and strengthens our communities.”

Habitat for Humanity’s Macomb County ReStore is located at 130 N. Groesbeck in Mount Clemens. They are open to the public 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (586) 263-1540 or go to