Habitat for Humanity Brant-Norfolk is proud and relieved to be able to reopen its two ReStore locations to the public.
The stores, located at Morton Avenue in Brantford and Park Road store in Simcoe, have been shut since mid-March when the provincial government ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to opening the doors to retail purchases, the organization is also accepting donations. ReStore Manager, Tracey Langley says the donation process has changed, but they are happy to receive them while following new procedures.
“A lot of the stuff was here when we closed, and we didn’t have any donations for six to eight weeks, so we haven’t had new stock,” Langley explains. “The items coming in from the shipping containers every day, we are wiping down, pricing, and getting on the floor. They are going through a cleaning process.”
Anyone wishing to donate must contact the store to make an appointment for drop-off. Donations are accepted Tuesday to Saturday between the hours of 11 AM and 4 PM.
Under new procedures, customers must unload all donated items themselves. All incoming donations enter quarantine, for 48 hours, upon arrival in that Langley refers to as their “hot zone,” or a trio of shipping containers located outside the building.
Langley adds, since reopening the donation vetting process has been slightly more challenging. “Everybody has been cleaning out from under their basement stairs,” says Langley. “Unfortunately, dropping things off for us that aren’t good for us either, so we are acquiring some garbage too.”
Processing all new donations now takes place first thing in the morning. Langley says that allows staff to get them on the floor before opening to so they’re not bumping into customers and allowing adequate space for shopping.
“We have hourly sanitizing that we’re doing for common touch surfaces,” Langley explains. “We only have one person behind our cash register, answering the phone and handling the debit machine.” The check-out area is also screened in the with plastic as sneeze-guard protection between staff and customers.
Customers are requested to have their hands sanitized before entry and take a basket with them. Langley says all baskets are disinfected upon return and, when distributed upon entry, used as a count of customers in the store at any given time.
Shopping hours have also been reduced for the time being, with limited staff. Each location is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 AM – 5 PM.
Donated items sold at the ReStores help Habitat for Humanity build affordable homes for lower-income families in the community.