For some, the dream of home ownership starts in a thrift store.
Profits from the stores operated by Habitat for Humanity, called ReStores, are used to help build homes for low income families.
So far, the organization has built more than 30 homes with profits from its Brooksville ReStore, 19450 Cortez Blvd., which has been open for eight years.
A new store that opened three months ago in the Kass Circle Shopping Center in Spring Hill should help make more dreams come true.
"People from Spring Hill had difficulty getting to the Brooksville location," said Chad Shaver, manager of the store at 7391 Spring Hill Dr.
Because Hernando County has a strong elderly population, many potential customers couldn't make the trip to the Brooksville store either because of health or transportation issues. Opening a second location helped bridge that gap, accommodating customers across the county.
Though still in its infancy, the Spring Hill Restore is already making a mark. It's filled with items from furniture to tools to books and videos.
Everything in the store is donated and examined, cleaned and repaired, if needed, before being placed on the sales floor. Some things that cannot be resold, such as child restraint car seats, are given away to other sources.
"We don't have the safety testing equipment for seats," Shaver said.
But the store's mission is to keep things out of the landfill by reselling, re-donating or recycling.
Donations to the Spring Hill ReStore can be made on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
They provide drop-off points at the Brooksville location during normal business hours. They also provide pickup for larger items or for those who cannot get out to the drop-off location.
Donations can consist of anything in good condition, Shaver said, from clothing to furniture to a box of unused nails. The old adage that one man's junk is another man's treasure is even more profound for Habitat for Humanity items. Each sale can add to the fulfillment of a family's dream.
"Our goal for Habitat is to build homes for low income families," Shaver said. "Any profits made from the two stores goes to purchase materials and all the permitting and whatever is needed to build the houses in Hernando County. All the money we earn stays in the county."
Each county branch of Habitat for Humanity has its own entity and governing body, Shaver said. The local affiliate receives no government funding.
The Hernando affiliate builds an average of two homes per year.
Homes are not given to the families. Those who qualify still have a mortgage to pay and are responsible for committing hours of sweat equity into the project, Shaver said.
"They help build their own home," which also initiates pride of ownership and promotes continued maintenance, he said.
Homes are built with community volunteers who apply and complete background checks and safety courses. Safety is the number one priority, Shaver said. For that reason, those like him who work the retail side of Habitat for Humanity do not participate on the job sites. Those who work the construction are heavily trained.
And that is fine with Shaver who channels his passion for the organization and his community by making sure his store is run with quality customer service. He greets every customer with a smile and is readily available to answer any questions or to look for a requested item.
"We run our stores like a business," Shaver said.
Email Hernando Today Correspondent Kim Dame at firstname.lastname@example.org.