ReStore a DIY haven


POSTED: Thursday, October 01, 2009

From basins and toilets to tiles, paint and tools, the new ReStore in Kapolei is filled with items needed for an array of home improvement projects. What started as an empty 4,000-square-foot warehouse has been transformed into a retail store with proceeds going toward helping the Leeward branch of Habitat for Humanity build more homes. The plan is to sell new, used, discontinued and salvageable building materials and home improvement items at prices that are 25 percent to 75 percent off their retail cost.

“;We have little bits of everything ... people will be able to pick up odds and ends,”; said John Ayat, store manager. “;We are not looking to compete with Ace Hardware. We are giving people another shopping option.”;

The store was established as a means to generate money for the construction fund. “;We want to keep building houses for low-income families.”;





        » Place: 91-220 Kalaeloa Boulevard, Kapolei

» When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday


» Call: 696-7882


» Volunteers: Needed for customer service, cashier duties, stocking, store maintenance and other areas.


» Donations: New and high-quality used building materials are being accepted. Visit www.leewardhabitat.org/restore.htm.




Some of the items builders and home owners can expect to find this weekend include Jacuzzi tubs, over-the-range microwaves, Italian tile, bathroom fixtures, lighting options from recess to chandeliers, doors, toilets, locks and doorknobs, paint and painting supplies, tools and accessories, plumbing supplies, Hunter Douglas blinds and hideaway sofa beds.

“;People need to visit often because our inventory is always changing,”; said Ayat. For instance, several pallets of Pergo flooring and 1,000 gallons of paint are scheduled to arrive in the next few weeks.

“;Some things are new, while others are slightly damaged,”; Ayat said. “;The wine refrigerators work, but may be missing a few shelves ... one of the grills has a scratch.”;

Often, the imperfections can be easily repaired or simply hidden; a scratch in the back of a vanity won't be an eyesore, for instance, when it's backed up against a wall.

“;As soon as we signed the lease, we started receiving calls from suppliers wanting to donate pallets and pallets of great inventory,”; Ayat added. “;It's been challenging to find the space to showcase all of the materials.”;

OPENING THE store would not have been possible without the help of HRPT Properties Trust, according to Susan Hughes, Habitat's executive director. “;They gave us a six-month lease and we didn't pay anything, not even CAM (the Common Area Maintenance fee),”; she said.

Habitat's offices are relocating from Waianae and will have a spot in the corner of the Kapolei store, which will be open on Saturdays through November, when Habitat for Humanity plans to host a grand opening event.

In the meantime, there are other matters to attend to in the store managed by volunteers.

Shawn Davis has been helping Ayat get things in order. As a member of the Americorps Vista program (Volunteers in Service to America), he was sent to Hawaii to provide a year of service in exchange for a small stipend. A graduate of Niagara University in New York, he earned his degree in political science and plans to attend graduate school and work in the field of “;policy and poverty.”; Davis believes this assignment is helping him gain firsthand experience.

“;Lots of people are doing volunteer work due to the lack of jobs in this economy,”; Davis said. “;This has definitely been an experience for me. I've learned a lot about the culture and different experiences. And, I'm learning more about the work force.”;

Davis said he appreciates what he's learned working with Ayat. “;He was a Vietnam vet, a retired police officer. He worked undercover operations and now he's building houses for the poor.”;

When Ayat retired from the police force, he was looking for volunteer opportunities. “;I started out pounding some nails. Now, I've built seven houses,”; he said.

“;The store helps us to continue building houses but also benefits the community. The weekend warrior guys who want to re-tile a floor or install a new bathroom vanity will be able to find what they need at the store,”; Ayat added. The everyday handyman or contractors working on small jobs can also find an abundance of supplies.

“;We anticipate a significant amount of funding to be generated through the ReStore and the timing could not be better,”; said Bob Sullivan, board president for Habitat for Humanity Leeward Oahu. “;Funding for our home building projects have increasingly become harder to secure as the economic downturn continues.”;

Each Leeward Habitat home costs about $90,000 to build, which does not include administrative costs that ensure projects continue to move forward. The ReStore will make the dream of building more homes for needy families a reality.