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December 5, 2023

Habitat for Humanity’s Watsonville ReStore location opening next month

WATSONVILLE—Swift efforts are underway to open a new Habitat for Humanity ReStore in downtown Watsonville. 

The national second-hand retail store is aiming for a mid-August soft opening in the behemoth 9,700-square-foot building at 555 Main St. that once served as a grocery store, a furniture shop and an inflatable fun center.

“It feels great to be able to open up in such a high-profile location, right here on Main Street in the downtown area,” said director Nick Kite. “Our former place was off the beaten path in a warehouse setting. This is a far more accessible, high-profile spot.”

The store is a relocation of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore from the westside of Santa Cruz. Funds raised by sales, Kite said, are funneled into home building, the chief mission of Habitat for Humanity. Kite said one of the first homes completed by the nonprofit was in Watsonville.

The Watsonville Planning Commission unanimously approved an application from Habitat For Humanity on June 8.

ReStore sells a variety of household items, including furniture, building materials, hardware and appliances. More than half of their items, Habitat For Humanity Monterey Bay CEO Satish Rishi said at the early-June meeting, are new, donated materials that they sell at largely discounted prices.

Habitat For Humanity has built 55 homes throughout the Central Coast and is in the process of building more units in Watsonville on Airport Road.

The ReStore has an option to expand into the remaining 20,000 square feet of the building, which currently houses Ramos Furniture. Rishi said they could take over the rest of the building as early as May 2022.

But the Planning Commission’s approval will only last for five years. Then, Habitat For Humanity will need to reapply to continue its operations.

Kite added that the store will create five full-time positions, but that ReStore also relies on volunteers.

ReStore accepts donations of “gently used” items that can be dropped off at the site, including tools, windows, wood, plumbing, lighting, home décor, hardware, furniture and more. They don’t accept clothing, computers, carpeting, drapes, mattresses and box springs, and opened paint, among other things. They also offer pick-up services.

For information, visit habitatmontereybay.org.

Additional reporting by Managing Editor Tony Nuñez.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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