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Community News 12/05/08
New Habitat store brings deals, novelties to Valley
By Craig Howard
News Editor

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Jeff Howard has been putting some miles on his vehicle the past few months – all for a good cause.

Shuttling between the Habitat for Humanity Builders Surplus store on Trent and Hamilton and a new 6,000-square-foot retail location on Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley, Howard has been lending his insight and expertise as a store director, marketing advisor and organizing specialist.

Featuring everything from storm windows to vintage LPs, the new Habitat for Humanity Builders Surplus store in Spokane Valley celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting earlier this week. Jeff Howard, store director for Habitat’s original retail location on Trent and Hamilton, has been helping to organize the new site at 11410 E. Sprague Ave.

The result is an eclectic mix of doors, windows, home décor and knickknacks in a setting that caters to the bargain shopper.

“Our business is up 20 percent from last year at this time,” said Howard, who has worked at the original retail store since it opened in 2000. “I think a lot of it has to do with the economy. People can get a window here for three-quarters of what it costs at Lowe’s.”

While Habitat’s flagship site near the Gonzaga University campus features some 30,000 square feet of space and a full array of items, from appliances to kitchen cabinets, the new Valley store represents a scaled-down version.

Currently the location at 11410 E. Sprague, near Halpin’s, carries around 600 doors, 300 windows and a diverse collection of home furnishings, artwork and holiday ornaments.

Howard said one of the primary differences at the new store has to do with the percentage of recycled items. He estimated that some 75 percent of the inventory at the Valley site is new, with the remaining 25 percent, used. The reverse is true at the Trent/Hamilton location.

“We’ve wanted to have a presence in the Valley for a while now,” said

Howard, who looked at around 30 potential sites before deciding on the space at the corner of Bowdish and Sprague. “It’s important not only for the store to be here, but that we educate people as to what Habitat is all about.”

The local branch of Habitat for Humanity has helped to build nearly 200 homes for low-income families and individuals in the Greater Spokane area since 1987. The nonprofit, Christian-based organization was established in 1976 with a mission of eliminating poverty housing and homelessness and, since then, has provided over 1.5 million people throughout the world with quality, affordable homes.

Howard said the Valley site will soon have a display that features a PowerPoint presentation providing an overview of Habitat programs as well as how to apply for home ownership provided at a 0-percent mortgage.

“We’re hoping this store will mean an opportunity for more people in the Valley to secure a Habitat home,” Howard said.

On Tuesday, the Valley store held a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. A grand opening sale – featuring discounts of 25 to 50 percent – will run through Saturday, Dec. 6, with music and complimentary food highlighting a celebration this Saturday.

Proceeds from the surplus stores – there are some 400 retail sites throughout the U.S., including locations in the Tri-Cities and Hayden, Idaho – benefit Habitat programs worldwide. The Trent store will bring in around $1 million this year, Howard said, a total that ranks it among the top 10 locations in the nation.

“This is why we’re here – to make money for Habitat,” Howard said.

Want to find out more?

The Spokane Valley Habitat for Humanity Builders Surplus store is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations are accepted at the Trent/Hamilton store. Contact Jeff Howard at 489-3833 for more information. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity Spokane, visit or call 534-2552.

Phone: (509) 892-0196

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