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Goodwill building deal ‘falls into place’

Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota is purchasing the former Goodwill building, vacant all summer since Goodwill moved to a new location. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota has agreed to purchase the former Goodwill building on South First Street in Willmar and move its offices and ReStore to the new location next March. The announcement of the purchase agreement with Quad Partnership, the building’s owner, was made Monday. “The opportunity was there,” said Joline Hovland, executive director of Habitat for Humanity. “Things just kind of fell into place.”

Renovation will begin soon, starting with exterior painting this week, she said. Work will be completed over the winter, with March 1 as the expected date for officially opening Habitat’s operations at the new location.

The building has been empty since Goodwill Industries moved this past May to a newly built store at the corner of First Street and 19th Avenue.

The main reason for Habitat’s upcoming move is to allow the ReStore to expand, Hovland said. The retail store, which specializes in recycled, donated and repurposed home building and interior supplies, has grown rapidly this past year and has outgrown its current space, she said.

The ReStore is one of the regional Habitat’s key programs. Revenue from retail sales helps support Habitat’s operating expenses. The thrift store also is a source of affordable building materials for Habitat clients and community shoppers. By repurposing supplies such as lumber, flooring, cabinetry, appliances and lighting fixtures, it reduces the volume entering the county landfill as well.

The new location will have room for the ReStore to grow “for many years to come,” Hovland said.

It also will house Habitat’s nine-person staff.

Habitat’s current building on Benson Avenue will be leased or sold. The sale of the building, along with a capital campaign, will help fund the purchase and renovation of the new site.

Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota marks 20 years this year. It serves Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Renville and Swift counties and the city of Cokato. Over the past two decades it has built 64 homes, with plans for two more in the coming year.

The Habitat affiliate also this year completed 10 projects through A Brush With Kindness, supplying materials and labor to help low-income households with simple home improvement projects such as painting, landscaping and minor exterior repairs.

For more information about the capital campaign, contact Tim Miller, sustainability coordinator, at 320-231-2704.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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