November 13, 2019
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Volunteer housing group closes store in Ellsworth

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
The Habitat for Humanity thrift store in Ellsworth will close in August as the organization looks to better means for raising money.

Due to rising costs, Hancock County’s Habitat for Humanity chapter will close its thrift store on Route 1 in Ellsworth this summer.

The ReStore, which sells new and used furniture, appliances, home goods and building materials, will shut down at 218 Downeast Highway on Aug. 17. Erratic donation of sale items also contributed to the decision to close the store, said the executive director for the Hancock County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Kelley Ellsworth. The closing comes despite some volunteers having donated more than 4,600 hours to the store in the last five years.

Not including land purchase prices, the chapter needs at least $110,000 to build a home in Hancock County and is building a single-family dwelling in Franklin, Ellsworth said. The group holds fundraisers and has volunteers to construct houses for those who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

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“We are extremely proud of all that we have accomplished over the years [with the store],” board member Bill Zildjian said in a statement. “We could not be more grateful for those who have believed in our vision and supported our mission.”

Ellsworth expressed confidence that Habitat for Humanity will continue to contribute to Hancock County. The group holds several successful fundraisers annually, she said, and seeks to work with local banks on a mortgaging model employed by some of the organization’s eight chapters in Maine.

Under the model, the group raises money and finishes a home with the eventual homeowner, who signs a low-interest 25- or 30-year mortgage with the bank. In exchange for the signed mortgage, the bank gives Habitat for Humanity cash equaling up to 90 percent of the mortgage’s value, which the organization puts toward its next project, Ellsworth said.

The group has a handful of plots of land that it will build upon once the Franklin house is completed. It is about half finished, with its roof installed and interior work soon to start. Habitat for Humanity is advertising for a construction manager to finish the work.

No finish date has been set, Ellsworth said.

 



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