A special partnership has developed between Habitat for Humanity of Sarpy County and Bellevue West High School’s Future Business Leaders of America to help train students and provide housing goods to the public at discounted prices.

“Habitat originally created this retail ‘re-store’ to raise funds to build more homes for families in need,” said Habitat Executive Director Jon Costello.

“We’re not just a construction company, we’re a retail store, a training organization, and a source of support for families who don’t qualify for regular financing.”

Items are sold at significant discounts at the new Habitat Home store that’s located on the second floor of the old Southroads Mall at 1001 Fort Crook Road.

Shoppers can choose from materials such as tools, appliances, mattresses, and even kitchen sinks.

“FBLA is working at the store as their State Leadership Conference project,” said Costello. “They’ve extended our store hours from just being open on Fridays and Saturdays to Thursday evenings.

They train students to manage and to market the store.

“It’s real-world experience for them. They’re responsible for inventory, pricing, customer service – they run it by themselves. They’re wonderful to work with.”

FBLA Co-leader Paige Nelson, a senior at Bellevue West, said, “It’s a great opportunity for our members.

‘I’ve learned how to open a store, and have done a lot of different jobs.”

Cristian Perdomo, the other FBLA co-leader, and Bellevue West senior class president, said, “It’s a glimpse into business management, which is what I want to do.

“It’s teaching me leadership.”

There are about 70 students all together in the club.

“If you’ve got a Pinterest project and need stuff at a reasonable price, come down to the store, we’re here every Thursday,” he added.

Habitat for Humanity’s Costello has had an active hand in the planning, and is looking for a full-time store manager, he said.

Sarpy Habitat builds three to four homes in the county per year. The first built was in 1996. The houses are sold to families in need at zero profit and interest, he said.

“The new store will also partner with the Bellevue Public Schools’ transition program for those with forms of disability,” he said.

Those students may stay in the program until they’re 21, said Costello.

“Every Friday they help in the store or behind-the-scenes,” Costello said.

“Donors frequently bring in new items, so visit the store or website regularly at hfhsarpy.org.”

The store is located on the back side of the mall on the top floor.

The hours are 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

To learn more, call Sarpy County Habitat for Humanity at 402-292-6560.

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