Not just old couches: Used furniture store in St. John's addressing growing need for furniture
Again & Again, a new used furniture store, had its grand opening in St. John's on Saturday. In addition to selling old couches, the store also aims to help the community.
"Again & Again allows us to collect more furniture, which means we can donate more," said Courtney Rowsell. She is the chair of the social enterprise committee for Home Again Furniture Bank, a non-profit that provides people on the Northeast Avalon with free donated furniture.
"We have partnerships with community organizations," Rowsell said, explaining how people receive the furniture. "They do the needs assessment and then Home Again donates to them for free."
The organization completed 500 free deliveries last year and is hoping to do 600 this year.
"Now, Again & Again is enhancing those operations," Rowsell said. The proceeds from Again & Again go toward paying for the free deliveries to those in need and the store also doubles as a place for donations that have nowhere to go.
"Maybe it's too big, such as a kitchen table that's too large or say a rocking chair that's not practical," Rowsell said. "Items like that that are not suitable for donors are given here at Again & Again, and that's where they're sold."
Additionally, the thrift store also means Home Again can accept more donations.
"Previously, Home Again could only accept gently used furniture from smoke-free, pet-free homes," Rowsell said. "Now here at Again & Again we have cleaning operations. We have refurbishing operations."
Amy Tulk, the director of operations at Home Again, says the thrift store is opening at a critical time for the organization, as they are seeing unprecedented demand for furniture.
Tulk said the current wait list for families and individuals waiting for a delivery from Home Again is 120, when just six months ago it was around 40 to 50.
She said they first opened the store as a pilot project in November last year to great success, so they decided to open the store permanently. So far, Tulk said, it's been a success.
"It's been fabulous. Everyone loves thrifting and we have such unique pieces," Tulk said. "This is a real community organization. We have volunteers that come in to do upcycling here, helping us refurbish, repair, clean items, all of that sort of stuff and the proceeds go right back to support Home Again Furniture Bank."
With many still unable to afford basic furniture, Rowsell said that support is vitally needed.
"The need is still there, the wait list is growing, individuals are still in need of furniture."