If you've been to either Charlotte ReStore lately, you may have noticed several attractive, gently-used kitchens assembled on the floor. Cabinets, islands, granite and marble countertops—everything, even the kitchen sink. And they seem to be multiplying. That's all thanks to the hard work of Colin Hayes and the Charlotte ReStores' skilled Deconstruction staff.
Hayes came to Habitat Charlotte in 2011 to head up Decon operations and has raised the bar every year since. Sales from Deconstruction donations in the past fiscal year were a whopping 96% higher than the same period of the prior year, and were enough to fund the construction of three new houses.
"I think the main reason it's grown over the last few years is because more people know about the service now," Hayes said. "We've gone from myself as the only full-time employee to now having two others – Kevin and Daniel. Knowledge of the program, though, remains one of the biggest barriers to growth; not a lot of people know that this is something we offer."
Deconstruction is a free service with a simple proposition. If homeowners decide to do a kitchen remodel, they or their contractor can contact Hayes to evaluate the scope of work and the items to be removed. If everything's in sellable condition and the homeowner is willing to offer them as a tax-deductible donation to the ReStore, Hayes and the Decon team will remove them at no charge, determine a fair market value and bring them in for resale. As a matter of perspective, most for-profit kitchen removal services charge anywhere from $500 to $1,000, depending on the size of the project. Considering the cost savings of this free service, many homeowners choose to make an additional financial gift, furthering the impact Deconstruction has on the community.
Currently, Hayes and team can average two projects per day, depending on the size and scope of the work. Typically a kitchen removal will also include removal and donation of appliances. But Decon projects are not limited just to kitchens. Bathroom vanities and fixtures, built-in bookshelves, light fixtures, doors and more are all acceptable.
Hayes is well aware of the impact Deconstruction has had on Habitat Charlotte and the families the affiliate serves. And though the financial outcomes are impressive, he tries to stay focused on serving people, not counting dollars.
"I just remind myself of this – and it's the same thing I'd tell potential homeowners we're working with – every screw we take out is a nail going into a family's new home. And that's why we do what we do."