As a way of saying thank you to the community, and in honor of Independence Day, the Medina County Habitat for Humanity ReStore celebrated its eighth anniversary July 6. The store, located at 342 East Smith Road, was open for business, but the non-stop lines of shoppers were invited to enjoy free hot dogs and beverages as they browsed, hoping to take advantage of the several bargains available.

The HFH ReStore is "a retail outlet offering donated home supplies and furnishings for sale to the public at substantial discounts." The Medina ReStore is one of the most successful all-volunteer HFH Stores in the country.

Everything is donated by members of the community and corporate donors, among them Do-It-Best Hardwares, who regularly provide hugh quantities of brand new merchandise. All profits from the local ReStore provide funding for Habitat's home construction projects for deserving families in Medina County.

The store was ranked 17th highest among the 788 HFH stores in the nation for the percentage of sales going towards local HFH projects. Together, HFH volunteers and the selected families work to build affordable homes throughout the county. HFH helps people help themselves by "offering a hand up, not a hand out."

Until just recently, the ReStore was open only on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; during that one day period it brings in $8,000 to $10,000 in sales. It has now expanded its hours to include Thursdays, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The quality merchandise moves quickly and is replaced with constantly in-coming new items for sale.

Volunteers play an integral role in the success of this operation. Many of the 30+ volunteers have been on board for several years. Dan Shumaker has been part of the group 18 years, and his wife Cheryl is a close second with 16 years. The value of their service goes beyond measuring.

This fall, Habitat expects to make its third move (the first was from Chippewa to the current building). It will then be located in the former Hawkins Market building, 233 Lafayette Road.

HFH ReStore Manager Jon Koloff said the move will be done in phases, until the entire inventory is in place in the new store. Business should proceed as usual. Koloff praised the efficient work of HFH's volunteers, and expressed gratitude to all who generously donate materials.

Another familiar slogan describing the overall goals of Habitat For Humanity is one recognized by many: "Stocked by donations, staffed by volunteers, shopped by everyone." This is a wonderful place where people can shop, save money, and be donating money to a worthy cause all in one easy motion. That says it all.