Local officials and Habitat for Humanity staff cut the ribbon to the nonprofit organization's new Smokey Point store on Sept. 7. From left, Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert, assistant manager Michelle Johnson, executive director of Habitat of Humanity of Snohomish County Roger Johnson and store manager Kelli Henderson.


Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County opened a new thrift shop in Smokey Point on Sept. 7.

This is the third store they have opened in the county to raise funds. It is located at 17020 Smokey Point Blvd., Arlington.

"The stores are a fundraiser for us," said Roger Johnson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County.

"People donate usable furniture or building materials and we clean it up if need be and turn around and sell it," he said.

The store in Smokey Point will sell building materials, furniture and appliances, as well as accept donations of those items. 

"About the only thing we don't do are dishwashers, mostly because there's a lead standard that's about five-year-old that the older ones no longer meet," said Johnson.

Once they start receiving dishwashers that do meet the new standards they'll be available at the store, he said.

There are other outdated items that the store doesn't carry, like traditional entertainment centers meant for big boxy televisions.

"No one wants them anymore," said Johnson.

The Habitat for Humanity stores offer a thrift shop experience focused on items for the home, and many of the stores have repeat customers who like looking for 'treasure' each week, said Johnson.

"The public gets good quality stuff to do home projects with. I've known several cases where people started a project, like a kitchen remodel, here because they can get kitchen cabinets here for cheap," he said.

The profits from the thrift store go toward local projects.

"The proceeds are used to support our work here in Snohomish County," said Johnson. "We're a Snohomish County affiliate so our work is here."

Currently the organization is working on projects like a home in Gold Bar and a community of homes in south Everett.

"We're working on the permits and civil engineering for a 25 home property in Everett," said Johnson.

The organization uses a model where the homeowners help build their homes.

"The homeowners put in 500 hours of sweat equity building their projects, usually their own homes," said Johnson.

"They all know each other by the end of the project so it really sets them up to be a community," he said.

The program model has been successful in building homes that people will be able to build a future in, said Johnson.

"In 25 years we've now had four pay off their mortgages and none have sold their homes. They're all still in them," he said.

The program provides affordable mortgages to help people afford homes they might not be able to otherwise.

"Their mortgage is tailored not to go over 30 percent of their income … a lot of people think we give away homes and we don't," said Johnson.

Johnson said that Habitat for Humanity is excited to be a part of the Arlington community now.

"It's taken us two years to get it off the ground with lease negotiations and permits, but we're glad to be here. Arlington is a good community," he said.

More information about the local Habitat for Humanity organization is available at habitatsnohomish.org.

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