As you might imagine, there are many similarities between the two Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStores (one located in New Brighton, the other in Minneapolis). They’re both near busy highways, making them accessible for shoppers and donors. They both feature a vibrant and ever-changing assortment of gently-used (or new) items for sale that help fuel Habitat’s mission. And, with a combined total of over 4,000 volunteers, 14,000 donations, and 48,000 shoppers in the last year—both stores are doing quite well.
However, one issue poses unique challenges for the two different stores: continuing to get the word out about these hidden gems. Recently, we tackled this issue in creative ways with success.
Left: Can you spot the New Brighton ReStore from the County Road? Right: New Brighton ReStore storefront
The Twin Cities Habitat ReStore at 510 County Road D West in New Brighton has been going strong for nine years. Its location was chosen because of 1) it’s just blocks from I-35W, and 2) significant cost-savings allowed more of the profit to go towards sponsoring Habitat homes.
However, because the store is tucked back a bit from County Road D and it looks like a warehouse (because it is, partly), the store has caused some potential shoppers to question whether or not it’s open to the public.
“People still come in saying ‘I never knew you had a store here?!’” says Pete O’Keefe, ReStore Operations Senior Manager.
To try to bring more awareness to the store (and help shoppers and donors know exactly where to turn to get there), the team invested in some signage. And it has already made a difference.
“Up the road a bit there is a Shell Gas station,” says Jill Carmody, Manager of the New Brighton ReStore. “They get quite a few people that stop in looking for directions to the store. Our digital sign has helped them have another point of interest to help the shoppers find the store. When we added the billboard last month, that was the icing on the cake. It gave us two signs, one on each side of the street. The signs are working wonderfully as the store had their best December sales ever.”
In fact, in December 2016 the store made $64,000. In December 2017, after the signs were up, the store made $73,000.
The Minneapolis ReStore was a different story. Once you get close to the store, you can’t help but notice the colorful storefront and big “ReStore” sign, and it’s easy to see where to turn off for the store. However, it’s just over a year old, and many people still don’t know it’s there. Its convenient location on Minnehaha Ave near Hiawatha and the Midtown Greenway give it huge potential.
“For the Minneapolis store, our challenge is convincing drivers to veer off Highway 55 and swing in,” said Pete.
So, similarly to the New Brighton store, we decided to see what a billboard could do. We put it on southbound Hiawatha, before the E 26th Street left-hand turn you’d need to take to get to the store. Perhaps you’ve seen it? As it turns out, many did see it and decided to give the ReStore a try.
“In November 2017 with no billboard, the Minneapolis store made $42,000,” said Jill. “In December 2017 with the billboard, the store made $51,000.”
How you can help
Increasing the awareness of our ReStores and getting more shoppers and donors in means more than just sales. It means greater variety of donated items. It means fewer perfectly good building materials going to landfills. And, ultimately, it means more families will be able to buy a safe, affordable home with Habitat for Humanity.
Billboards and good marketing always help, but ReStore supporters like you are the true key to success. Here are a few ways you can help spread the love:
- Word of mouth
“We’ve always felt word of mouth is our best tool,” says Pete. After all, when a friend gushes about their latest way-below-retail-price find from the ReStore, or raves about how the ReStore truck came to their home to pick up their old kitchen cabinets, it almost always inspires someone else to shop or donate. Tell your friends why you love the ReStore!
- Pick up an “I Heart ReStore” lawn sign
Share the love by putting a small ReStore sign in your own front yard! Simply ask for a free ReStore lawn sign at checkout at Minneapolis or New Brighton stores.
- Sign up for Hot Deals and VIP Club
Did you know there are additional sales on our already-low prices? Sign up for our Hot Deals weekly email to see which items are on sale now. You can also sign up for the ReStore VIP Club and receive exclusive deals and info via text.* Text “RESTOREVIP” (all caps, no spaces) to 51555.
*All text and data rates apply. Opt out any time by replying with the word "STOP". VIP offers may not be combined with other sales or discounts, unless promoted otherwise.