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Volunteers and donors are the heart of Habitat's far-reaching ministry in Rutherford County. The "Everything Must Go!" sale at 269 West Main Street, Forest City, Jan. 22-23, 29-30 will help fund the home building work of folks like these and the hundreds

Come early and stay late.

The Habitat Store at 269 West Main, Forest City, behind the old Charles Watkins location, hopes to sell everything.

In case you missed it, that's everything.

Most of the items in the store are brand new, already discounted 40 percent off retail, they will be discounted another 75 percent for the sale that starts tomorrow, January 22 and runs January 23, and January 29-30.

Store director, Jimmy Okpych, says the items include paint, flooring, electrical items, and other construction items.

What are people primarily looking for when they come to the 269 West Main location?

"A bargain," Okpych said with a laugh.

The Resale Store model, which Habitat uses worldwide, is a win-win-win. People who donate get to feel part of something larger than themselves. People who buy often get great stuff at a bargain price; and the money raised helps to build basic housing for people who could not afford home ownership any other way.

Win-win-win.

Okpych supervises two store managers, Wanda Harris at the big store at 286 West Main, the one near Davis's Donut Shop, and Destiny Lyda at the smaller store where the big sale is happening this weekend and next. Harris is a 16-year veteran of store work and Lyda has put in close to four years.

"Everything must go!" is the familiar line found in an ad elsewhere in this edition of Rutherford Weekly.

But why?

Why must everything go?

Habitat is getting into the clothing business, something never tried in the 33-year history of the local organization. Clothing, shoes, accessories will be offered in what Okpych called a "boutique" setting. He anticipates donations from local supporters and department stores and other clothing outlets that rotate stock.

Habitat For Humanity began work in Rutherford County in 1987 and in that time has built 82 basic houses. Forty of them are paid for. Mortgage income from the other 42 pays for about ten percent of the organization's local budget. The remaining budget comes from the Habitat Resale stores and grants and private donations.

Three fourths of the people who work in the two stores are volunteers. Okpych said Covid has cut into the volunteer effort some, but most are back on the job and supporting other projects.

Most of the items in the smaller store, the one across from The Salvation Army Family Store, are already discounted heavily, but the new bigger discount is sure to draw crowds of local bargain hunters.

According to the international organization, "The idea that became Habitat for Humanity first grew from the fertile soil of Koinonia Farm, a community farm outside of Americus, Georgia, founded by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan.

"On the farm, Jordan and Habitat's eventual founders Millard and Linda Fuller developed the concept of 'partnership housing.' The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build decent, affordable houses. The houses would be built at no profit. New homeowners' house payments would be combined with no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fundraising to create 'The Fund for Humanity,' which would then be used to build more homes." Habitat is the favorite charity of President Jimmy Carter who has worked on building crews all over the world. Habitat has built homes in all 50 states and more than 70 foreign countries.

Okpych said, "This is something we've never done (selling clothes) and we're excited about trying this, to see how it goes."

For Jimmy Okpych the appeal of working with Habitat is seeing what's donated and then realizing the impact it has for good in the community.

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