Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Habitat Closes Milwaukee Store, Moving to Franklin

Nonprofit opening a much larger operation in former Gander Mountain store.

By - Dec 23rd, 2020 08:22 am
420 S. 1st St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

420 S. 1st St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity closed its Walker’s Point retail outpost last week. It’s relocating the store to suburban Franklin.

ReStore, as the nonprofit’s three home improvement and donation centers are known, offers used furniture, building materials, appliances and home accessories for substantially discounted rates.

Proceeds from the retail operation, which the organization says are its biggest fundraising source, fund the construction of new homes.

The Walker’s Point location, 420 S. 1st St., opened in 2013. But it closed last week as the lease is set to expire.

“Walker’s Point was our first choice when we set out to find a new space with our lease expiring at 420 S 1st. Unfortunately, none of the properties we toured in the area were a good fit for our unique business which needs space for retail and a donation center. Even more difficult for us is finding something that fits our non profit budget,” said the organization in a social media post.

It will reopen in 2021 in a former Gander Mountain store in Franklin. The new location is over three times larger in size. The organization purchased the property for $1.1 million.

“We’re so grateful for the support of the Milwaukee community, who’ve made this opportunity to grow possible,” said ReStore director Dominic Jaehnke in a statement. “Thanks to our loyal donors, shoppers, and volunteers we’ll be able to build more safe, affordable housing in our city, while keeping millions of pounds of usable materials out of landfills.”

Two other Restore locations are available in the Milwaukee area — Greenfield and Wauwatosa.

ReStore offers a free pickup service for large donations and also provides deconstruction services to salvage usable items from redevelopment and demolition projects.

“If you are going to have a dump or demo team, call Habitat Deconstruction for a cheaper, faster, more sustainable solution with a tax benefit,” said Jacob Weiler, Habitat’s deconstruction manager, in 2017 while we watched a crew strip a 1980s-era office space clean at the former Milwaukee Enterprise Center.

Similar salvage teams have saved items from the Bradley Center, former hotels and historic mansions. The fast turnover stores sell everything from refrigerators to art work.

The two-story, 1st-Street building, perhaps best known for its rear tenant ComedySportz, now has a vacant storefront along the heavily-traveled street. It was built in 1948 according to city assessment records. The 2.18-acre property is owned by Gabaldon Properties.

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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Habitat Closes Milwaukee Store, Moving to Franklin”

  1. Alan Bartelme says:

    There are also ReStore locations in Germantown and Waukesha.

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