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Habitat selling, building

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Greensboro affiliate generates revenue at retail store.

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. [06.15.04] — Enjoying a boom in activity, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro is generating record-high sales at its retail Re-Store and, thanks to more than 90 AmeriCorps members from four states, built six houses in one week in May.

The Re-Store, which opened in November 2000, expects sales to total more than $600,000 for the fiscal year that ends June 30, up 20 percent from last year and eclipsing its best showing ever two years ago, when sales totaled $493,000.

Winston McGregor, Habitat’s director of development, attributes the surge in sales to marketing and publicity, including public-service air-time donated by Time Warner Cable; WXII, the local NBC affiliate; and other local broadcast affiliates.

The store also benefited from special events, one last fall sponsored by local Presbyterian churches, the other this spring sponsored by Good Ole Volks Antique VW Club.

And thanks to a $200,000 donation from the estate of retired financial consultant Max Cooper the affiliate used as a downpayment, Habitat purchased the store, which it had been leasing from Circuit City.

Habitat now is planning improvements to the store, which is located at 3826 High Point Road and sells donated and slightly used furniture, building materials, appliances and hardware.

Sales revenue covers both the full cost of operating the store, and 88 percent of Habitat’s general overhead and administration costs, including fundraising expenses.

The store’s contribution to Habitat’s general overhead and administration costs has nearly doubled as a result of the growth in sales, coupled with operating costs the store has kept roughly the same as last year.

Building Habitat’s six new houses were AmeriCorps members working at Habitat affiliates in the Carolinas, Virginia and West Virginia, including seven working for the Greensboro affiliate.

The affiliate has built 231 houses in Greensboro and another 225 in Honduras since it was founded in 1987, and currently is completing the six begun by the AmeriCorps members and 14 others.

The affiliate plans to have completed a total of 43 houses this year, including rehabilitation of a 13-unit garden-apartment complex in the Eastside Park neighborhood where it already has built more than 30 houses.

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