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‘It’s very uplifting’: Habitat for Humanity plans to open reuse store in former Westminster Antique Mall

Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County says it has invested over $1,400,000 in the community, and it plans to soon expand that presence with a new reuse store.

The nonprofit recently announced its plans to open the county’s first Habitat ReStore at the former Westminster Antique Mall location at 433 Hahn Road. The tenant of the antique mall was evicted last month after failing to pay nearly $58,000 in owed rent.

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ReStore manager Scott Swartz said he expects this ReStore, at about 25,000 square feet, to be one of the larger locations on the East Coast. Habitat ReStores are independently owned reuse stores operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates that accept donations and sell home improvement items to the public at a fraction of the retail price, according to the Habitat for Humanity website.

ReStore helps others by accepting donations of goods to be sold and provides volunteer opportunities as well, according to a Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County news release.

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“When contractors build houses and they have too many windows left or too much hardwood flooring, rather than taking it back, they’ll donate it to us,” Swartz said. “We can sell it, turn it around, and put it back into the houses that we built.”

Currently, there are Habitat for Humanity locations serving 13 counties in Maryland, with various ReStore locations across the state as well. Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County works locally to select and support homeowners, organize volunteers, and coordinate house building and repair.

Swartz said the Carroll County location will include a community space that can be used for meetings, classes, and networking, and he anticipates it being a state-of-the-art location with an interactive video board equipped with audio.

“We hope to offer that to other organizations, nonprofits, or for-profits to either use or rent out from us to be able to use for specific events, team building, whatever,” Swartz said. “We also plan to have workshops, specifically featuring items that we have in our store and how they can be reworked, reused, and recycled.”

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Creating a donation center, updating the interior and adding new signage are additional priorities in renovating this location, according to the release.

Swartz said he has been involved with Habitat for Humanity for about two and a half years. He originally came on as a construction manager and continues to hold that position, as well as ReStore manager.

His involvement was accidental, he said, and he was simply looking for something to occupy his time. Once he got involved, it quickly became his passion.

“The work Habitat does is just phenomenal,” Swartz said. “I think a lot of people have always been confused that Habitat builds houses and gives them away, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We build affordable housing and make it possible for people that normally wouldn’t have a chance to be a homeowner to get into that role as a homeowner.”

Swartz expects the ReStore location to open as early as January 2021, and the renovation progress can be followed on the Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County — ReStore FaceBook page.

“The American Dream is to own a home, it’s a sense of pride and self-worth,” Swartz said. “When you give somebody that opportunity that normally probably wouldn’t think they would ever have it, it’s very uplifting.”

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