Published on September 25, 2013
Jennifer Egan, manager of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Summerside, has an emotional moment at her store on Tuesday. Habitat for Humanity P.E.I. has decided to close the store after three years of losing money on the venture. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
Published on September 25, 2013
The Habitat for Humanity Restore in Summerside is closing its doors. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
Habitat for Humanity decides to close store after three years of losing money
SUMMERSIDE - It's been an emotional couple of weeks for Jennifer Egan.
As manager of the Summerside Habitat for Humanity ReStore location, Egan has had the unfortunate honour of organizing the store's going out of business sale.
She's been alternating between tears and hysterical laughter with her regular customers ever since they announced the store's closure a little more than a week ago, said Egan on Tuesday.
"Most people in the community are just disappointed to see it go. There really is no other store like this in Summerside. The community in general is very good about recycling and are always looking for used items," she said.
During her interview with the Journal Pioneer, Egan called the store her "baby" more than once, and talked at length about both her joy at working at the store and the service it provides for the community.
"It's heartbreaking," she said.
"I've met so many fantastic people and I've heard so many amazing stories and I've met one of my dearest friends," she said.
"If anything, I'd like to be able to thank every single person who ever came through the doors, who've brought us their used things . . . who just came in to just buy a doorknob. All of these people just made this a fabulous place to be every day."
The Summerside ReStore location opened three years ago and was originally in Nu-City Plaza on Water Street, but moved to Jenkins Avenue two years ago.
ReStores are an arm of Habitat for Humanity that serve as sources of funding for its projects nationwide.
The stores sell new and used items of pretty much any description, from building materials to books.
Almost all of its items were donated by the community.
It was staffed by one permanent employee and a part-timer, in addition to a continuously evolving list of more than 60 volunteers. The two paid staff positions are being eliminated as part of the closure.
The ReStore will close its doors permanently on Sept. 28.
It's unfortunate that this is a road Habitat had to go down, but it was unavoidable at this point, said Mario Zambonin, manager of ReStore on P.E.I.
It came down to simple economics, he said. The store was supposed to help raise money, but it never turned a profit.
"No mater what we tried to do attract customers into the store we just weren't reaching our target figures that we needed to obtain," said Zambonin.
It's a shame, because the people who did use the store found a lot of value in it, he added.
"I'm sad to see it close. We were helping to fill a gap for the people of West Prince, Summerside and part of Queens County who were looking for affordable items . . . that help families get through tough times," he said.
Shopper Janet McKie said she was one of those people.
She checked in at the store every few days just to see what had turned up, and has relied on the store for some items in the past.
"I really think it was a good service," she said.
"There is a lot of stuff that went through this store that, where else would it end up?"
Susan Zambonin, executive director of Habitat for Humanity P.E.I., said that the only reason the store was allowed to stay open as long as it did was because it was the organization's major footprint in the community.
"It's actually better for us financially that it not be there, because it's taking away from our building program. But it did have value in that it kept our name out in front of the community," she said.