It might seem a long way from a career in the headquarters of a Fortune 500 retailer to working in a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore. For Robin, it just seemed like a natural path. Robin had spent most of her career in retail merchandising and project management for Target Corporation. After leaving the company, a former co-worker told her ReStore was planning on opening a second store and suggested she check them out. Robin did, and it changed everything for her.
Pete O’Keefe, Senior Operations Manager for ReStore, got the call from Robin. He felt her talents and experience would be invaluable in putting the new store together and invited her to volunteer as part of the team. Robin started using her experience in project management to wrangle all the moving parts of the store design and build process. She quickly became a key member of the team.
Robin’s job at Target had been to merchandise products so they would be attractive, fit brand standards, and increase sales. After she left the company, she knew she wanted to change her career path, and helping with the new store suited her. She helped the team figure out what products should go where to maximize sales, then worked with construction partners to bring it together. But there was a difference from what she had done for Target.
At ReStore, the primary purpose is not selling more products. Rather, it’s to help fund and build more Habitat homes for low-income families to buy with affordable mortgages. That made a world of difference to Robin.
As the new store was moving from final construction to grand opening preparation, Robin heard about a posting for a Donations Manager to solicit donations of building materials, appliances, cabinets, hardware, flooring, lighting, plumbing, furniture and anything else that might go into a home. Robin applied and was hired. She loved the Habitat for Humanity mission and believed her background would be a big help in the position. She was right. Robin’s goal is to spend at least half her time working with builders, remodelers, businesses, realtors, manufacturers, and anyone else connected with the building and remodeling industries. Her efforts are already bringing in a bounty of donations that will help ReStore support Habitat for Humanity, like the donation of $40,000 worth of water heaters! Not all donations are that large, so Robin's new motto is, "Donations large or small, we love them all."
“Last year, the New Brighton store earned enough income to sponsor building six Habitat homes,” she said. “I want to quickly get the new store up to that level so we can double the number of homes we sponsor.” She adds, “I love having a job that lets me help families be able to buy an affordable home. It’s very rewarding.”
“I love the homeowners I get to meet, the staff and volunteers I work with,” she said. “And I love the reactions of business owners I meet who are delighted to be able to make a difference in people’s lives by donating unneeded but usable materials!”
If you are an individual or business and you have unneeded but usable items you’d like to donate to ReStore, please visit https://restore.tchabitat.org/donate.