Holiday Inn furniture a big boost for Habitat for Humanity Restore in Joplin

How quickly can you recycle 190 rooms of furniture? If it s at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, 5201 N. Main St., it can literally disappear overnight. When the owners of the former Joplin Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn decided to convert it into a DoubleTree Hotel at a cost of $6 million, the plan included the demolition of a couple of wings on the east side of the property.

Before that could happen, the rooms had to be cleared of furniture. The owners of the property gave the furniture to Habitat for Humanity if they would clear it out all 190 rooms. With assistance from R&R Trucking, a tractor trailer was placed at the hotel. The furniture was loaded into a trailer by staff, temporary workers and volunteers.

Once it was filled, another one was put in its place. The first truck was taken to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and unloaded.

As soon as we brought it out, it was sold, said Brianna McKenzie, an assistant manager at the Restore. There were office chairs and desks, hide-a-beds, coffee tables, two different kinds of nightstands, microwave stands and lamps. A chair might cost you $7, lamps sold for $8, and a desk would fetch $20.

As soon as one semi-truck was emptied, another took its place. After a month and a half of sales, Restore is now down to a few chairs, tables and lamps. I scored two metal lamps. These are special lamps. They have the on/off switch at the bottom of the lamp.

You don t have to reach under a shade to find the switch. They also have a three-prong plug-in, which would be handy for a phone charger or alarm clock. At $8 each, they were a steal. Since Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, you don t have to pay sales tax.

Habitat for Humanity has earned enough from the donation of the hotel furniture that it will pay for half a house, according to Scott Clayton, director of Habitat for Humanity in Joplin. The organization has built 104 houses since the 2011 tornado and plans to build 14 more this year. Also this year, the group plans to help some local families with light exterior repair. The clearing of the furniture from the hotel was labor intensive.

It was an o-p-e-r-a-t-i-o-n, said Clayton, exaggerating how much effort went into the effort. There was a serious amount of lifting.

But we helped people get a good product at a good price and that has helped our mission. Tucked between the Fancy Flamingo and Etcetera flea markets, Restore offers new and slightly-used building materials for resale at discount prices. The store has doors, windows, paint, light fixtures, furniture and plumbing supplies. While I was there, Martha Sisseck and her husband, Joseph, of Carl Junction, scored big on a file cabinet that they loaded into the back of their pickup.

Oh yes, we shop here all of the time, she said. We have been looking for a filing cabinet, but we didn t like the ones they had until they put this one out.

You can t beat the price at $15. Sisseck said they bought doors, windows and aluminum screen doors on previous shopping sprees. Clayton said the new Restore has seen its customer foot traffic triple since moving from its previous site on Blackcat Road on the west side of Joplin.

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