The Billings Habitat for Humanity ReStore has a new home on the West End, three months after a fire forced the non-profit from its downtown location.
The ReStore and Habitat for Humanity of Mid-Yellowstone County’s administrative offices will move into the former 406 Warehouse on King Park Drive. The group hopes to begin accepting donations next week and is planning a soft opening for April 1.
The building’s purchase became official Friday morning.
“We’ve been going full speed ahead despite all this,” said Habitat Executive Director Jim Woolyhand. “It’ll be nice to have a home and be back to some sort of normalcy around here.”
Smoke and water damage from a Nov. 28 fire that began in an adjoining auto shop forced Habitat from its First Ave North location. The store lost almost all of its inventory, and officials knew within a few weeks that it would need to find a new home.
“It just wasn’t going to work,” Woolyhand said.
The group found temporary administrative offices within a week of the fire, and started looking at the new building shortly after the fire.
The fire also affected Habitat’s building plans for a 21-lot Billings’ Heights subdivision. The group still hopes to break ground this spring and have its first home completed in September, but it’s still fundraising for the new structures.
Habitat has a separate 16-lot subdivision in the Heights where construction has continued.
Habitat does not give away houses — owners purchase them at fair market value. But the organization doesn't seek to turn a profit, and it doesn't charge interest on mortgage loans. The group requires that future owners volunteer in their home's building to put in "sweat equity."
The ReStore, a non-profit home improvement store that sells new or lightly-used building materials and household goods, is a major fundraising arm for Habitat. The loss of sales was significant, as well as inventory from the old store.
Donations of items like cabinets, flooring, furniture and household appliances are especially needed.
“Those are always in demand. We couldn’t keep that stuff in stock,” Woolyhand said. “We’re really going to need to replenish our inventory.”