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Shoppers lined up to purchase building supplies at the new ReStore in Pittsfield

Habitat ReStore Offers Way to Recycle Building Supplies

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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A shopper searches through lighting supplies at the ReStore on Saturday. Right, cabinet hardware. Sales benefit the Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Everything and the kitchen sink was flying out of the newly opened ReStore last weekend.

The grand opening on Saturday morning pulled in crowds of do-it-yourselfer looking for that perfect cabinet, matching doorknob or sample window at discount prices.

"It's a phenomenal turnout," said Carolyn Valli, director of Central Berkshire Habitat, as shoppers elbowed their way through the aisles. "More than 35 people were lined up at the door when we opened."

The store offers a way for contractors and homeowners to recycle building materials. The shop takes donations of flooring, sinks, doors, windows, lumber, bathtubs, lighting, plumbing and hardware in good condition and resells at it reasonable prices, at least half the retail cost.

It's run by volunteers on a for-profit basis but all the proceeds benefit the nonprofit Habitat For Humanity. The organization builds and renovates houses for those with limited budgets and the sales will help pay for the increasing cost of the building supplies.

It will also help others save money. On Saturday, the inventory in the 6,500-square-foot space ranged from brand-new windows and doors to used granite countertops and salvaged cabinet hardware. A high-end set of 13 painted kitchen cabinets went for $3,000 while one customer walked out with a shelf unit for $5.

A door is marked sold.
Building materials that might have once wound up at a landfill can now find new life in someone else's home — or rental unit. In fact, a run on kitchen cabinets has left the store's stock depleted, said one volunteer.

Habitat has been gearing up for the opening since last fall, when it announced it would open the ReStore in a vacant warehouse at 70 Jefferson Place.

ReStores have been popping up around the country and in Canada as environmentally responsible ways to recycle materials and provide funding for initiatives such as Habitat. The Springfield ReStore was featured a couple years ago on "This Old House" when it was contracted to "deconstruct" a house in Weston.

Mayor James M. Ruberto, who attended Saturday's ribbon cutting, said the turnout was "a tribute to those who donate so much time and effort to the community."

Plywood to go.
Ward 2 City Councilor Peter White, who was looking for items for his own home redo, said the store was great idea, especially "the fact that this stuff doesn't end up in our landfill."

ReStore doesn't accept everything. Appliances must be in working order and all items must be in good condition. Shag rugs and bits and pieces of lumber or metal won't be accepted. Full kitchen sets are preferred but single cabinets may be accepted.

Volunteers will pick up items but reserve the right to refuse donations. One volunteer said he'd been on several pickups in which the items didn't live up to their descriptions. For a full list of acceptable donations, check the Web site.

To arrange for a pickup, call 413-443-2106. The store is open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 to 4.
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Pittsfield Police Chief Says Too Soon Assess Budget Cut Impact

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's only one month into the fiscal year so it's still not clear how cuts made to the city's police budget will play out. 
Police Chief Michael Wynn told the Police Advisory and Review Board that it is still too soon to tell how the reduced budget will affect operations.
"It is up in the air we really just got a budget past," Wynn said. "Operationally we really are just getting our feet under us."  
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