A nonprofit organization that sells donated building materials to homeowners and charitable groups in Milwaukee neighborhoods zoned for redevelopment has purchased a former Value Village thrift store on West North Avenue.
Community Warehouse bought the building, located at 324-332 W. North Ave, for $605,000, according to real estate records.
Community Warehouse is a Christian nonprofit organization founded in 2002 to help supply homeowners and other nonprofit organizations with the building materials they need to improve homes in Milwaukee’s community block grant neighborhoods. The group began selling donated building materials at its currently location in Walker’s Point at 527 S. 9th St. in 2005. That building was donated to the group.
Chief Executive Officer Nick Ringger said the organization plans to convert the building on West North Avenue into a second home building supply store.
“The board of directors and myself have been looking at this expansion for about three years now, and the rationale has been that many people from the north side of the city will not venture to the south side.,” Ringger said. “We just realized we were not serving a large portion of the people in the city who need the products we bring.”
Ringger said Community Warehouse does not plan to make extensive renovations to the building, but does plan on making minor interior and exterior upgrades.
In recent years, Ringger said Community Warehouse has begun shifting its focus toward workforce development and finding ways to employ people who have trouble passing background checks — particularly those with criminal records or transient living situations.
“Probably 85 percent of our employees have serious background challenges,” Ringger said. “We want to provide jobs in the city to the people who need them most.”
The group has multiple workforce training programs and is currently working on creating a program that would help provide former prison inmates with job training in the skilled trades and a put them on the path to one day owning their own home.