A home for homebuilders
If you’re looking for the headquarters of Lorain County Habitat for Humanity, you might run into some trouble. That’s because the organization is currently located at two addresses – its administrative offices in Elyria, and its ReStore home improvement resale outlet in Lorain.
Operating out of two locations hasn’t been easy for the Habitat team, says Executive Director Kelly La Rosa, who is tasked with managing the growing nonprofit. But that will soon be changing, as the organization has finally found its new home. On Jan. 2, 2016, Lorain County Habitat celebrated the grand opening of its new location in a 23,000-square-foot, two-story office building in Amherst, Ohio. Situated on 2.2 acres, the new facility houses all of the nonprofit’s services under one roof.
“We started in 1988 in the basement of a church in Amherst, so this is something of a homecoming for us,” La Rosa says. “The building has 15,000 square feet that we can use just for retail, so it is going to really help us consolidate and simplify things.”
Getting move-in ready
Relocating a countywide organization is a major undertaking, which is why Lorain County Habitat sought assistance from Lorain County Community College (LCCC) Business Growth Services– one of its longstanding partners.
To help finance the purchase of the building, La Rosa and her team worked with LCCC in partnership with Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to create a financial presentation for banks and build a dialogue with lenders.
“LCCC helped us talk things through to give us a better idea of what type of loan deal would work best for Habitat,” La Rosa says. “They ultimately helped us settle on a loan.”
Now that Habitat is taking the final steps to move into the new facility, LCCC is also helping it refine its business practices in areas such as human resources and operations so team members can thrive in their new environment.
“LCCC has continued to be a resource for us,” La Rosa says. “They’ve connected us with a local Six Sigma black belt who has helped us on a pro bono basis to incorporate Six Sigma lean operating principles into our business. In particular, that’s going to help us manage donation traffic more efficiently.”
Support from LCCC has ultimately put Habitat in a position where it can operate more efficiently and effectively expand its operations, she says.
“That’s been extremely important for us as we move into our new place and continue to grow.”
Contact LCCC Business Growth Services at (440) 366-4300 or email LorainSBDC@lorainccc.edu to learn about our services to assist small businesses.