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20 years of giving people a second chance

One of the oldest ReStores in Canada is having a birthday and getting a new look to mark the milestone
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Ward 2 Councillor Rose Romita cuts the "ribbon" to mark the reopening of the Habitat Huronia Restore in Barrie. Sue Sgambati/BarrieToday

A recycled yellow caution tape served as the "ribbon" for the reopening of the new look Habitat Huronia ReStore in Barrie.

The store marked its 20th anniversary with a ribbon cutting by Ward 2 Councillor and Acting Mayor Rose Romita, who was joined by representatives of MPs John Brassard and Alex Nuttall.

"We have been proudly delivering the opportunities for new families, our worthy families in Simcoe County for twenty years," said Ken Kirk, CEO for Habitat for Humanity Huronia. "The ReStore is one of the vehicles that allows us to raise all the funds that we use for builds and helping the families. With this reopening today, we hope to reinvigorate even more clients and shoppers." 

The store has been in the building at 128 Brock Street for all twenty years and is one of the oldest and largest ReStores in Canada. 

"It is the beginning of our 20th anniversary year so we're kicking it off with the renovation," said restore manager Lisa Voycey. "We have reorganized. We are trying to make it more shoppable for the customer we have in the store these days. We've made it much more attractive."

Fresh paint, a new layout and a new bookstore are all part of the new experience.

"We also have a community cafe and will be working with sponsors and advertisers to do all kinds of fun things in our community cafe," said Voycey. "It will be different every Saturday. We want to make this a community hub."

Habitat is now building a three-unit townhouse on Anne Street, a project supported with funds from the restore.

The organization just bought new land near there where there are plans for a semi-detached home.

Both Brassard and Nuttall sent commemorative scrolls to be read out at the ribbon cutting by representatives Shawn Bubel for Brassad and Kathryn Abel for Nuttall. 

"Habitat Huronia is 'building hope' within our community and is an invaluable resource, helping to provide homeownership solutions to hard-working, deserving families in Simcoe County," read a statement by Nuttall. "By helping others to achieve this goal, which often seems too far out of reach, they are helping to strengthen our community, empowering residents, and making dreams come true."  

Councillor Romita says she's a regular customer at the store.

"I love coming here. I love what they're doing. I love what they represent — giving people a second chance or even a first chance to get ahead."