If he had a hammer

Gregory Johnson

Photo By Tom Angel

Cabinet doors for $3? Tiles for 15 cents? A Kohler sink in its original box for $75? You can get these great deals and more by visiting Gregory Johnson, the manager of the Habitat for Humanity of Butte County ReStore. The store salvages building materials and fixtures, accepting donations of new and recycled items that are then sold to the public.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers join with other local nonprofits to provide families with no-interest homes that the buyers spend at least 500 hours helping build themselves.

The ReStore at 2288 Park Ave. (turn onto Westfield Lane) is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Donations are, of course, very welcome. Volunteers come by regularly to sort and price supplies.

Where did you get all this stuff?

We had a 2,400-square-foot store on Benatar, but we were running out of room. A month ago, we moved here, and it’s twice as big.

The materials all come from the communities: retail, wholesale, contractors and the building industry. The public brings in a lot. They’ll take a window out and bring in the old one—even dual-pane windows and vinyl. Everyone is so generous.

Who had the idea for a store?

In 1992, the Habitat for Humanity in Austin, Texas, opened one. Our object is to serve Butte County with three goals in mind: One is reducing the amount of materials that go to landfills. [And we’re] helping low-income people fix up their houses by offering supplies at very low prices. It allows them to get things started. Third, the proceeds go to fund the Habitat structure and houses. There’s a store in Sacramento with a big selection, but it has limited hours. Here, we get people coming up from Corning, Yuba City—all over.

What’s the coolest thing anyone’s donated?

Gold faucet handles with gold actually on them. I worked really hard to sell those. I think they might have been $5 for the set.

Have you ever built a house?

I’ve built several houses, but more often I’ve renovated.

Have you met Jimmy Carter?

I haven’t, but I’d like to. He’s hammered his way to success.