NOAHH ReStore and Freeman Convention Services Make Giving Back Easier

Conventions are a part of New Orleans life. The same qualities that attract thousands of tourists and volunteers every year also bring the annual gatherings of many organizations, intent on enjoying the often clement weather, the promise of world famous hospitality, food, and music, and the chance to give back. NOAHH has had many successful partnerships with the many conventions that come to the city, and in recent years, many of them have also found a way to expand their impact (and save a little money) by partnering specifically with the ReStore.

At the end of February 2013, the Ace Hardware convention came to New Orleans. As part of many of the conventions they hold, Ace Hardware makes a point of ensuring their exhibitors know that the Habitat ReStore is an option for removal of inventory at the end of the week. Like many conventions, they wanted to give back to the community that hosted them, and time and again, they have turned to the ReStore to make that happen.

At the time, the ReStore was in the second month at our new location on Elysian Fields. Ace Hardware had a convention floor full of materials that their exhibitors were faced with at paying either to ship across the country or to have removed to the junkyard. Instead, with the help of ReStore staff and coordination efforts by our friends with Freeman, a national exhibitor services organization, Ace Hardware’s exhibitors donated seven tractor trailers full of brand new materials from the breakdown of their booths to the ReStore. Not only did the exhibitors save money on shipping and cleanup costs, but they also received a tax write off for the donation… and the ReStore got to jump-start our new location with a major influx of brand new merchandise!

“Donating to the ReStore is a turn-key solution,” said Wesley Griffin, NOAHH ReStore Director. “Not only is it a great opportunity for conventions and trade shows to provide value for their exhibitors, but also a chance to leave a significant positive impact on the community. By providing a convenient and cost-free solution, we increase the good these companies are doing by doing good for them.”

For several years, conventions have found the ReStore to be a welcome answer to their logistic complications, and the ReStore has found this is only possible with the help of Freeman. Ace Hardware, True Value, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, and others have all partnered with the ReStore through Freeman, which serves as the logistic coordinators for many of the conventions in New Orleans, some of them more than once! The continued support from incoming conventions has been a great boost for the ReStore and, by extension, NOAHH’s mission. Their support is part of a wider impact that they bring to the city as well.

The many conventions that partner with the ReStore rely on Freeman to manage the disposal of their leftover products. Whether it is shipping the materials to various locations around the country, removing it to a landfill, or donating it to the ReStore, Freeman handles the process of removing them from the convention center. Knowing that it benefits everyone involved to donate as much as possible to the ReStore, Freeman has often gone out of their way to facilitate donations to the Restore–including once lending warehouse space for donated materials that wouldn’t fit on our trucks after the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show! Their workers are always helping NOAHH ensure that everything is marked for donation properly, all of the forms are filled out, and our employees have the resources they need to get the donations to the ReStore.

Ace tools
As anyone will tell you, conventions bring in a lot of support for New Orleans in the form of tourism and other economic stimuli, but by partnering with NOAHH and the ReStore, their impact is amplified greatly. Many conventions connect with NOAHH as volunteers, using a day on the work site to build community and give back. Others choose to support NOAHH with events held at their conventions. This June, for instance, the Contractor Connection Convention and Expo will be holding a silent auction to benefit NOAHH and donating some of their display products to the ReStore as the convention closes. At the same time, the International Floriculture Expo will be hosting their convention, with plans to donate to the ReStore as well. While the ReStore focuses on furniture and building materials, we won’t limit our possibilities!

By donating, convention exhibitors multiply their impact on the community. Not only do they prevent the brand new materials from going to waste, they provide the ReStore with merchandise that is then sold at major discount to the public–and all of the proceeds go to build homes for hard working families in the New Orleans area! This means that they are directly and indirectly contributing to New Orleans during their stay here.