Bend Area Habitat for Humanity announced Monday it has purchased the former Backstrom Builders Center. The vacant site, located on north Third Street across from Wagner Mall, will become Habitat’s new and expanded ReStore, the organization’s home improvement resale center.
“Moving the ReStore is motivated by two primary factors that are important to our community,” said Mark Quinlan, Habitat’s executive director. “We have outgrown our current store and want to improve the shopping experience for our thousands of customers and donors.
"And secondly, an enhanced and expanded store will increase Habitat’s ability to finance affordable home construction and repairs for low-income individuals and families at a time when traditional funding is declining.”
Over the next six months, the site will undergo a $400,000 renovation, creating an 18,000-square-foot center that can present a larger inventory of new or gently used building materials, furniture and appliances that are sold up to 95 percent off retail price.
In addition, the 2 1/2-acre site will provide greatly expanded parking and more convenient donor access.
Quinlan said they purchased the 2.5-acre property for $1.2 million, with a combination of bank and owner financing. They plan to put another $400,000 in it over the next six months.
"Over the next three years, we plan to pay down as much of this total amount as we can," Quinlan said. "We think we can cover about two-thirds of those costs by selling our current ReStore, leveraging capacity-building grants, and of course increased ReStore revenue. But we also plan to roll out a capital campaign in the near future to raise $600,000."
According to Quinlan, the current ReStore at 740 NE First St. finances 65 percent of Habitat’s operations.
“The goal of the new ReStore is to establish greater revenues that will fund 100 percent of our operations, allowing us to serve more people through affordable home ownership and home repair," Quinlan said.
"The need for low-income housing and repair services is great. As proud as we are for positively impacting the lives of more than 500 children and adults by building 102 homes and providing home repair services for more than 50 households, we are only scratching the surface of this community’s needs.”
Another important community benefit is the impact the ReStore has on the environment. Using dollar-to-pound equivalencies determined by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, the Bend ReStore annually facilitates the reuse of more than 2 million pounds of building material, furniture and major appliances.
Backstrom Builders Center, established in 1967, was a community fixture until it closed in March of 2012. The ReStore’s ability to utilize the existing buildings on the site has created a unique opportunity for the Backstrom ownership group, the city of Bend and Habitat to create a working relationship to establish this unique retail option in north Bend.
Susan Backstrom said, “The owners of Backstrom Builders Center would like to thank Central Oregon for allowing us to help in its growth and lifestyle from 1967 to 2012. It is an honor to have the land now belonging to an organization that is dedicated to the stability and well-being of Central Oregon. I could not think of a better use of the land.”
City of Bend officials are pleased to see this “vintage” property revitalized as a community resource. City Manager Eric King said, “The city is supportive of Bend Habitat transforming this landmark property into a location that will serve the community in a variety of ways.”
The Bend ReStore began 16 years ago as a 500 square foot operation run by a few volunteers. Today, the store employs eight staff and over 22,000 hours of volunteer time annually.
About Bend Area Habitat for Humanity:
Bend Area Habitat is dedicated to providing homeownership opportunities and home repair and weatherization services for low-income individuals and families in Bend and Crook County. In partnership with the communities of Bend and Prineville, Bend Area Habitat is currently under construction on their 102nd home for the Parris family! Contributions of volunteer labor and donations of money and materials help Habitat to continue providing opportunities for low-income people. For more information, www.bendhabitat.org