The store is a transplant from the Liberty City location, which closed earlier this year. To announce the new location, members of the organization passed out flyers to local businesses and sent direct mail throughout neighboring areas; however most funds were reserved for the store itself.
“The concept of this store is exactly in its name: a restore, and the proceeds from our sales go to helping build houses and everything else in between, to be able to sponsor those families that are in need,” said Habitat marketing and communications director Casey Angel. “It’s a way for the community to be able to donate their goods, to get involved if they don’t want to come out and swing a hammer. They can still help a family right here, by donating or shopping.”
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 and is an international nongovernmental, nonprofit Christian organization that works with the community to build decent and affordable homes. Habitat Miami was founded in 1989 and since its inception the organization has built more than 950 homes. They anticipate breaking the 1,000-homes mark later this year with the construction of Habitat Landings in South Miami Heights.
“It’s a very successful program because it rewards hard work,” said Miami Habitat CEO Mario Artecona. “Habitat is not a giveaway. It gives opportunity, but our partner families have to work hard and earn the opportunities to purchase these homes.”
Future homeowners take part in the building of their own houses and those of their neighbors, the cost of building offset by 250 hours of individual “sweat equity” work. They then buy a 30-year, zero-percent-interest loan for their house, which enables Habitat to keep the costs down and sets it up so that the homeowners pay their own mortgage over the 30 years.
“We’re able to keep the costs down on the homes built, and it’s really not that easy,” said Angel. “In comparison to the rents that you pay in Miami, though, it’s really a great deal, as most of our mortgages range somewhere in the realm of about $600 to $700 a month.”
Restore serves as a communal supplement to this effort. Thanks to donations from local businesses, community members and Macy’s, who contribute unused but otherwise unsellable floor models, every item in the store is in excellent, near-new condition. Its inventory includes items to satisfy the surrounding communities flooring, appliance, plumbing, hardware, furniture, home goods and hurricane preparatory needs. Writing above the cash register sums their goal concisely: “Our Mission: Neighborhood revitalization.”
If everything goes according to plan, Habitat Miami will open more Restore locations in the future.
“We hope that, with a community the size of Miami- Dade County, to have at least five stores within the next 10 years,” said Artecona. “This is our first down here in South Dade and we hope to have them from Cutler Bay to Aventura in the next few years. We feel that Restore fills a niche, allows us to raise money for our mission and provides a great value to the general public.
Miami Habitat Restore is located at 20811 S. Dixie Hwy. For more information, call 305-637-4913 or go to www.miamihabitat.org/restore