Habitat for Humanity to soon open ReStore in Dubuque

A local nonprofit intends to soon open a home improvement store in Dubuque to support the construction of affordable housing.

By late January, Dubuque and Jackson Counties Habitat for Humanity plans to complete construction of its ReStore at 4949 Chavenelle Road, with intentions of opening it soon afterward. The business First Supply already is located in that building and will continue to be.

The ReStore will sell donated building materials, appliances and furniture as a means of raising funds for Habitat for Humanity’s home-building efforts.

“The revenues from the store will allow us to build more modestly priced homes that the majority of our population can afford,” said Erica Haugen, executive director of the nonprofit organization.

Dubuque and Jackson Counties Habitat for Humanity raise funds to construct low-cost homes to sell to local families in need. The organization has built 24 homes in the area, with another in Dubuque County nearing completion.

“Our mission is to make sure that we are partnering with families in need of housing who have the ability to pay an affordable mortgage,” Haugen said.

All of the items that will be sold at the ReStore will have been donated to the organization, including lumber, bathtubs and light fixtures. The initial offerings will be from a sizable donation from the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Mount Carmel Bluffs in Dubuque, which included numerous items from campus buildings that were deconstructed as part of a major construction project.

“We received six semi loads of materials from Mount Carmel,” said Rachel Daack, a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity who spearheaded the ReStore project in 2019. “We received everything that was related to residential and office work.”

Haugen said the donation was large enough to completely stock the store, and the organization will not accept any additional donations for the time being.

“We’ll announce when we are ready to take in donations again,” she said.

The local Habitat for Humanity chapter has raised $291,000 for the project. Haugen said the nonprofit secured two grants from the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, along with receiving additional funding support from Chavenelle Warehouse Development LLC, the owner of the property at 4949 Chavenelle Road.

The raised funds will be used to both cover the renovation of the building to create the store space, along with paying for first-year costs.

Haugen said two full-time staff will manage the store, with the assistance of volunteers.

Once open, Haugen said, the ReStore will both aid the mission of Dubuque and Jackson Counties Habitat for Humanity while reducing waste in the community by allowing for the reuse of materials and home items.

She added that the ReStore will allow the organization to grow, and the raising of more funds and the recruitment of more volunteers through the store will allow for the construction of more homes.

“The demand is there for the houses,” Haugen said. “I would love to see us grow. I think we can do it.”