Home ReSource, a nonprofit building materials reuse center that relies entirely on donations from the community and employs 30 people, has made the purchase of a lifetime thanks the generosity of a group of local investors. The organization recently closed on a deal to buy the entire property it sits on at the corner of Wyoming and Russell from Berkeley United, a group of local investors, giving it a permanent home and a more stable future.
“This purchase has been years in the coming, and represents the culmination of a lot of good work by so many people,” said Home ReSource executive director Katie Deuel. “We wanted a permanent home in a central location, and needed enough space to accommodate all aspects of our thriving retail and deconstruction operations, as well as our growing education and sustainability initiatives. The community has demonstrated overwhelming support for our triple bottom line business, and we need space to stretch in order to continue to provide the community with our sustainable operations and programs.”
The organization was founded in 2003 by Matt Hisel and Lauren Vamey. Jeremy Drake, Home ReSource’s community engagement manager, said they ran the operation on a “shoestring budget and vision of a different future” where business is a significant driver in building an environmentally and socially sustainable community.
Home ReSource moved into the current location in 2010, and has grown every year since. It now diverts approximately 1.5 tons of materials from the landfill every day and employs a full deconstruction services crew that repurposes old houses and warehouses. They also provide job training to people experiencing barriers to employment and are leading efforts to move Missoula toward a goal of “zero waste,” an issue supported by the city council.
With the organization “busting the seams” of its current space, management approached the original Berkeley United investors Rick Wishcamper, Mike Bouchee, Justin Metcalf of Rocky Mountain Development Group, John Rimel, Steve Nelson and investors in Good Works Ventures about purchasing the site. In what Drake called a “heroic act of philanthropy,” the investors provided the equity that Home ReSource needed for a down payment by making a substantial donation in the form of a reduced purchase price.
“Berkeley United’s generosity made it possible for us to take this monumental next step,” Deuel confirmed. “Berkeley’s investment in Home Resource was ultimately an investment in this community, and they knew that eight years ago going in. As the community’s donations and demand grew the business, we realized it was time to ensure a more secure future for Home ReSource. We are making good on our investors contributions over the years, from customers and donors alike, by realizing the original sustainability vision.”
The nonprofit was able to purchase a giant lot next to the building, which gives them room to grow. Their property forms a “horseshoe” around the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project site next door.
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“We are thrilled that the success of Home ReSource is such that they now need the entire property to fully spread their wings,” Wishcamper said. “And we couldn’t be happier that our original vision for that site is still alive and well.”
Home ReSource recently worked with City Council President Marilyn Marler on passing the Zero Waste Resolution, which sets a goal for Missoula to reduce its waste by 90 percent by the year 2050 with interim goals along the way.
“Home ReSource is a pioneer in waste reduction in Missoula,” Marler said. “They got Missoula moving on the path toward Zero Waste before Missoula even knew about Zero Waste.”
The purchase gives the organization a chance to expand their Zero Waste Ambassadors Program, ZWAP, which teaches all fifth-graders in town about the materials economy.
“They learn about where things come from and where they go, so it really gives them the tools to think about sustainability in the future,” Deuel explained.
For more information visit homeresource.org.