WATERVILLE — A new business on Silver Street could aid the Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity in helping more families achieve the dream of owning a home, but organizers say they need community support for it to succeed.

“We need volunteers, we need people to donate, and we need people to shop, in that order,” Waterville-area Habitat director Holly Towle said last week.

A Habitat invention intended to generate additional revenue for charitable projects, the ReStore sells building materials, used home furnishings and appliances, and other items related to home ownership.

The Waterville-area Habitat opened the ReStore in late October. All items sold at the store are donated, and anyone can shop there.

“We’re generally 50 to 75 percent off retail prices,” Towle says.

The store has one employee and is open just three days a week – 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Organizers said they can expand the hours once they get more volunteers and donations.

Dean Dalham, president of the Waterville-area Habitat’s board of directors, said the organization hopes revenue from the ReStore will allow them to increase their homebuilding projects from one every three years to one a year.

Another goal is to generate more money for home renovation and winterization programs available to low-income residents in the area.

“Our real goal is to be able to better serve our communities,” Dalham said.

It takes the board about two years to raise the money to build a local home and about a year in the construction phase.

“From three to one is quite a step for us,” Dalham said. “In order to grow, we had to do something different, and what’s different is the ReStore.”

So far, Dalham said, the ReStore is doing well, as locals are starting to learn what’s available there.

Other items for sale at the ReStore include tools, lawn equipment, furniture, and even an antique, hand-cranked Victrola record player.

“Our goal is to keep this stuff out of landfills and get it back into the community as well as help us raise and get the funding we need to take to the next level,” Dalham said.

Founded in 2001, the Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity has built four houses – three in Waterville and one in Oakland.

While all Habitat homes are meant to go to families who don’t have the financial means to achieve the dream of home ownership, the construction projects are not handouts, organizers say.

In each case, partner families are expected to participate in the construction of their homes, depending on their ability to do so.

They also must repay a mortgage that is held by the area Habitat affiliate. Rarely are mortgage payments more expensive than rent.

“The importance of this program is to set them up for success, and that’s our focus when we take these applications,” Towle said.

That local Habitat’s next building project will be on Clark Street in Waterville, where the city donated land for a future homeowner.

Store manager Heather Stone said the ReStore is having a sale Dec. 11-13. All windows will be 40 percent off, she said.

Evan Belanger can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

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