I love summer!
Being a transplant from Western New York, I love warm weather (ok, so maybe I should say HOT weather), the sun, the beach and especially vacation time. The Captain and I love to travel so much in fact that my friends often ask how we have time to work. We smile knowing that we both usually end up doing quite a bit of work while on vacation. I am writing this while sitting in Logan Airport in Boston waiting for my flight back to Atlanta then on to Pensacola enjoying the last moments of the unusual cold weather the northeast is having. We spent a wonderful relaxing week in Portsmouth, NH and Waldoboro, ME with wonderful friends. How wonderful are they? The first thing they said to me when I walked through the door was “ReStores are wonderful. We love them!” They had just discovered them and I was thrilled that I was able to share my favorite spot with them.
Being the ReStore geek that I am I always make sure I visit all the local ReStores during our travels. I have seen some amazing stores, met some wonderful Habitat staff and come away from each one with new ideas to implement in our stores in Lower Alabama. During this trip I was lucky enough to take some time away from my five day shopping excursion (otherwise known as my vacation while The Captain worked) to visit two ReStores in New England — one in Maine and one in New Hampshire.
The Midcoast Habitat for Humanity ReStore was situated in the beautiful countryside of Rockland, Maine. It was housed in an old red barn with big front doors and a muddy walkway (did I mention it rained the entire time we were away!). Inside was a treasure trove of New England finds including a 1950s era stove that our friends had their eye on to compliment their rustic, charming farmhouse. This small ReStore has only been open a year but has a great following. I met the Executive Director who shared her excitement of their first store. It was a great store and truly an important part of the community.
Later in the week I visited the Southeast New Hampshire Habitat ReStore, which is just over the border from Maine in Newington. It is housed in a former roller skating rink. Of course my first question was “do you get to roller skate in here?” The disappointing answer as no. I have many great memories of roller skating at Midway Park as a teen and was hoping this would be another opportunity to brush up on my skills. Alas no skating. But the store was pretty neat.
When you walked through the door there is memorabilia from the former roller rink in the display window intermingled with Habitat items. I thought this was a great reminder of the history of the building. That would be great to have at The Bay Minette ReStore which used to be a bowling alley. Anyone have anything they want to donate?
Back to New Hampshire…the store had great character, great donations and a wonderful staff. I enjoyed seeing their processing area and took a lot of pictures of their appliance testing area to replicate in our new store. Did I mention we are building a new store? More about that later. Sophie, the ReStore manager, shared their Facebook page, customer newsletter and website with me. They do a great job of using technology to keep in touch with their customers, donors and supporters. You should like their page…in fact you should probably like our Facebook page too! The visit re-energized my interest in my ReStore blog which I have been putting off for a number of months now, complaining that I have been a bit stressed so not in a good enough mood to write. Enough of that — I missed sharing our ReStore stories with you!
Over the years I have visited stores including Key West, FL; New Orleans, LA; Buffalo, NY (my adopted hometown!), Ashville, NC; Atlanta, GA; Plymouth, MA and numerous other areas. (Did I mention we love to travel!) My only disappointment is that I can’t buy anything while visiting far away ReStores. Boxes of tile would put my luggage way over the weight limit for all airlines.
I have learned so much from each store and believe our stores are successful because of all I learn while traveling. (Hoping my boss reads this and sends me on more trips!) Now I have not yet seen the Hawaii ReStores but I’m working on that one! I wonder if that is in our travel plans anytime soon?