It was a drizzly, gray Monday afternoon in Auburn, but oddly enough, the sun was shining with all its might on Habitat for Humanity’s Home Improvement Outlet in Auburn.
According to Amy Sullivan, Retail Operations Manager for the Auburn store, it has been doing a lively business ever since July 2018, when the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County opened its third Home Improvement Outlet Store in King County at 1407 Auburn Way S., complementing its already-existing stores in Bellevue and Southcenter.
“We have a little bit of everything here,” said Sullivan, threading her way through high-quality donated new and gently-used furniture, building materials, tools, appliances, doors, windows, cabinets, bathroom and lighting fixtures, flooring, you name it — most of it sold at a discount of 50 percent or more off retail pricing.
Shoppers find not merely jaw-dropping bargains for what they need to sweeten or to fix their homes. Their dollars also help their low-income neighbors throughout King County with every purchase they make. All of the proceeds from store sales support Habitat for Humanity’s mission to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.
In the end, Sullivan said, it’s all about helping people.
People like Shavon Jones, who struggled for years to make a better life for herself and her five children beyond a dreary shuffle of tiny, two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments that were all she could afford as a single parent.
That’s where they lived on top of one another in a space so cramped as to afford no privacy to anyone, let alone her four growing teenagers, who, of course, were desperate to have it.
But when she discovered Habitat for Humanity’s website, she added her name.
Today, thanks to Habitat for Humanity, and the 250 hours of sweat equity she and her family poured into it, and all the invaluable training the nonprofit provided, including planning and monthly budgeting, Jones and her kids now live in a five-bedroom, two-bathroom home at Rainier Vista Apartments in Pacific.
Jones was unavailable for comment, but she expressed her appreciation on a video shared on Habitat for Humanity’s website.
“Along the way, Habitat stood by my side and encouraged me, that I could actually do this — be a homeowner. What I actually love the most is that I know this home was built by the loving hands of volunteers who pounded in nails, painted walls, fixed floors and so much more,” Jones said.
To make miracles like that happen, Habitat for Humanity relies on donated goods from individuals and businesses to stock its home improvement outlets.
“We get donations from corporations, but a lot of it is just residential,” said Sullivan. “And you can just drop off stuff at the back door. We accept donations during business hours, and we also do free pickups. Each one of our locations has a truck that goes out and picks up whatever people have for us.”
Building supply and furniture stores, contractors and remodelers, homeowners and renters may contact Habitat at habitatskc.org/store/donate-to-store or 206-957-6914, Ext. 52, to schedule pickup of their excess and unwanted materials and furniture.
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity stores, visit Habitatskc.org/store.