FARMINGTON — Officials with Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity hope a new store will help the organization fund future houses.
The store, which is scheduled to open on April 12, is located at 714 W. Main St., Suite F, near Farmington's western Safeway.
The store will operate on the same principles as a ReStore. ReStores, which are located around the country, are home improvement stores and donation centers. They sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances at a fraction of the retail price.
Due to the size of the building, the new Farmington store cannot be classified a ReStore. Habitat for Humanity requires ReStores to be at least 6,000 square feet, while the Farmington store is only about 2,000 square feet.
But, Frank Hayes, who sits on Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity's board, said the store could move to a larger building in the future.
Hayes said Habitat for Humanity's primary goal is building houses and selling them at the price it costs to build them, preventing low-income families from taking on high-interest mortgages.
Since the local Habitat affiliate organized in 1991, its staff and volunteers have built eight houses. The most recent one is located in Crouch Mesa.
That house was built on one of five lots Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity purchased in the area. The land still has four lots left, which the affiliate also hope to build on.
"We'll have our own mini subdivision," Hayes joked.
The new store helps the organization continue its work.
"The proceeds from the transactions in this store will fund a build," said Jo Duckwitz, one of the organization's board members.
The board hopes the store will earn at least $60,000 each year.
One of the biggest challenges the local Habitat affiliate faces is finding the right families for its homes. A family cannot make more than 60 percent of the median household income in San Juan County.
"If people are making less money, they often don't have good credit," Hayes said.
Habitat also requires homeowners have good credit, so they can make the payments on the house.
"We're not giving away anything," Hayes said. "We're selling homes."
Homeowners pay down the mortgage, and the money funds the local affiliate and its efforts to build more homes. Homeowners also must put in 200 hours of "sweat equity" or work on the house.
"I think we do give away something," Duckwitz said. "I think we give away opportunity."
The last house the local group sold was valued at $125,000. Hayes said even after taxes and insurance, the new owners will only pay $511 a month.
"It's trying to keep it at a real affordable level for people who need it at an affordable level," Hayes said.
Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity's new store needs more work before it opens, including replacing the water heater.
Because of the store's small size, Duckwitz said the organization will have to maximize the space. Part of that means deciding which donations will be accepted and which ones will be turned away. That also helps the store cut down on what it will have to eventually throw out.
"You don't want to take just anything that anybody has," said another board member, Jim McBee.