Denver Business Journal: Chalet Development & Habitat for Humanity
Chalet Development is featured in the Denver Business Journal.
Habitat for Humanity racks up sales through two Denver-area outlet stores
Denver Business Journal - by Sharon Gillen Kathleen Lavine | Business Journal
When you think of Habitat for Humanity, what immediately comes to mind is a nonprofit group that builds homes for deserving people down on their luck. What probably doesn’t come to mind is how Habitat is helping anyone — rich or poor — save money on materials and appliances to repair or improve their own homes through its bargain-rate outlet stores. And in these tough times, thrifty is thriving.
Too bad that Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver’s Home Improvement Outlets — located in Denver and in Wheat Ridge — are such little-known and overlooked treasures for the bargain hunter. The stores, open to the public, sell new and used building materials, appliances and furniture for about 50 percent to 80 percent less than regular retail prices. The profits go to a worthy cause, and your recycling conscience gets a boost, too. “We’re a well-kept secret, but that’s not our intention,” said Heather Lafferty, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. But the secret is getting out. Lafferty said gross sales at the stores in March set a record at $250,000, as volume continues its steady growth of 25 percent during each of the past five years. During that time, she said, total sales reached $8.3 million and earnings totaled $4.3 million. Last year alone, according to Lafferty, the outlets’ sales were around $2.5 million, with net revenue at $1.3 million.
The earnings all go to Habitat’s administrative and fundraising expenses, so that contributions to Habitat can go solely toward the home-building program. “Anything in packaging flies off the shelves,” Collin said. Susan Hagen of Denver relies on the Denver Habitat outlet for many of the items she needs to not only fix up her own home, but also her 10 rental properties. “I just love it,” she said. “You can get things for half the price of Home Depot.” Unlike at other thrift stores, she said, Habitat’s outlet has “really good stuff” that’s well-organized, so you don’t have to search through a “junkyard” jumble. Hagen said the outlet is also a better place to find bargains than craigslist because the best items on that site “go really quick” and usually require pick-up; the outlet store “delivers for a cheap price.”“It saves me a great deal of money off the bottom line,” she said.
While the recession is bringing out even more bargain shoppers such as Hagen, it also is having an effect on the donations of reusable items — but not as much as you might expect. Lafferty said individual donations are down only “slightly.” However, corporate contributions are up, Lafferty said, although often the reasons aren’t something to celebrate: Stores are going out of business, or inventories aren’t moving.
That is not the case, though, with Chalet Development, a local design-build company specializing in custom single-family homes in central Denver. It’s a regular contributor to Denver Habitat’s outlet stores — which principal John Mattingly says is simply “the right thing to do.”
The developer designs and builds what Mattingly calls “new old homes” in some of Denver’s historic neighborhoods. But before a new architectural charmer can be built, the old charmer must go. So, about once a month, Chalet calls Habitat to come in and take whatever it wants from the historic house — doors, cabinets, windows, light fixtures and other artifacts. “We have a lot of respect for these houses,” Mattingly said, and the “interesting bits and pieces in them belong in other homes in this same area, rather than in the salvage yard.”
Sharon Gillen, an associate editor of the Denver Business Journal, can be reached at 303-803-9225 or via email at email@example.com