“When you work with people who are so willing to give for the betterment of our community, it makes you grateful to have the opportunity to see all the kindness in humanity that is out there. I go to work every day, and there’s always such a great positive outcome.”
Michelle Smith has been working with Habitat for Humanity for going on a decade now. She is completely vested in the hand up, (not hand out) model that Habitat offers its homeowners. However, as the Donations Manager for Asheville Habitat, it’s not only the mission that has her raving about her job, it’s the amazing community of donors she works with every day, and the culture of generosity and sustainability that drives these community partnerships.
After working with smaller Habitat affiliates, Michelle joined the Asheville Habitat team in 2019 where she hung up her Volunteer Manager and Deconstruction Manager hats (working for a smaller affiliate = wearing lots of hats!) and focused solely on managing merchandise donations. As the donations manager, Michelle manages the ReStore Business Partner Program, which offers local businesses and organizations recognition for their support of Asheville Habitat through their ReStore donations.
In the year and a half since Michelle joined Asheville Habitat, she continues to be impressed by the level of generosity and genuine desire to support area non-profits shown by local businesses. In 2020, even with a 10-week shut down, ReStore business partners donated approximately $40,000 worth of merchandise to the ReStores. During the shutdown, Michelle was one of a handful of staff who continued to work on site at the ReStore. Several business partners who operated as essential businesses would bring weekly truckloads of donations, enabling the ReStore to incur revenue through online sales as well as offer a fully stocked store to customers upon reopening. In fact, one of the largest sales days in ReStore history was the first day the ReStore reopened after the initial Covid quarantine, and those sales were thanks in large part to our business partners’ continued support.
From hardware to plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets to high end lighting, bathroom vanities to office materials, furniture and more, ReStore business partners bring in a wide range of donated, new and used building materials and home goods. Whether from remodeling at Deerfield, Givens Highland Farms or Hilton Biltmore Park; or from the moving company, Jenny to the Rescue, donating all the no longer wanted items from home moves; or from Ferguson’s or Lowe’s changing out their showrooms, ReStore business partners come from every sector in our local economy. Home Source of Asheville even recommends ReStore Deconstruction services to construction clients they aren’t able to serve- in addition to donating deconstructed kitchens and bathrooms from clients they were able to serve.
As vital as these product donations are to ReStore business, Michelle is quick to note that this isn’t where the partnerships end. She recalls numerous occasions when business partners have called to request information on how else they can become involved in Habitat’s mission, whether through volunteering on a new home build, or at a home repair site. Several organizations have opted to make a day out of volunteering with their whole team in tow!
Generous hearts and a desire to keep reusable goods out of the landfill draw business partners to the Asheville ReStore, but often it becomes the mission behind Habitat’s work that creates a lasting partnership. The ReStore team is so grateful for each and every business partnership in our community. It is truly an honor to pursue affordable housing with so many supportive partners who also believe that everyone deserves a decent place to live.
If you are interested in becoming a ReStore business partner, you can give Michelle Smith a call at 828-777-2572, or check out the Business Partner Recognition program overview at: