Home Again creates their first social enterprise

Dec 19th, 2023

Alyssa King

Home Again Furniture Bank (HAFB) is a non-profit organization aiming to end furniture poverty in the Northeast Avalon.

It collects and provides free deliveries of gently used furniture such as beds, sofas, tables and chairs to individuals in need of furniture. Since launching in 2015, the organization has consistently expanded, including adding its first social enterprise, Again & Again Furniture and Décor Thrift, in 2022.

A variety of beautiful furniture pieces can be found at Again & Again Furniture and Décor Thrift. The store sells donated furniture that is not suitable for delivery to clients such as large, antique or decorative pieces.

Amy Tulk, Home Again’s director of operations, says they looked at opening a social enterprise to generate revenue and increase the organization’s long-term sustainability.

While the COVID-19 pandemic placed many plans on hold, Home Again’s team used it as an opportunity to create a social enterprise committee and brainstorm ideas.

“Everything that Again & Again does enhances [operations of] Home Again” and allows the organization to provide an improved service to clients and donors, said Ms. Tulk.

Before opening Again & Again, the organization was forced to decline pieces of furniture that were not suitable to be donated such as those requiring repairs. This meant donors would have to arrange multiple methods of getting rid of used furniture and would sometimes cancel donations after discovering not all items could be picked up at once.

Now, Home Again accepts most pieces donated to them.

Adding Again & Again to Home Again’s portfolio has also enhanced the organization’s ability to create a positive environmental impact.

With an increased ability to collect various items from donors, fewer items are entering the landfill. Home Again also has a container at Robin Hood Bay in St. John’s, where items can be collected for second-hand use instead of being discarded.

The store also has a back-of-house area where the team repairs and refurbishes furniture, including deep fabric cleans and fresh coats of paint.

“Volunteers help us operate”, said Amy, stating that the organization avails of significant volunteer work to maintain operations of both HAFB and Again & Again.

Critical student support

Through the Centre for Social Enterprise’s Work Experience in Social Enterprise program, Again & Again Furniture and Décor Thrift hired a student business development co-ordinator during fall of 2022 and winter of 2023.

“Having the student support was crucial for us to be able to open the store,” said Ms. Tulk.

Fatema Chowdhury, a master of science (computer science) student, worked at a marketing agency in Bangladesh before arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Working at Again & Again allowed Fatema to experience the start-up process of a social enterprise, work with a variety of stakeholders, practice supervisory skills, and gain experience with hands-on work like refurbishing furniture.

While the term “social enterprise” was new to Ms. Chowdhury, she enjoys using her skills and knowledge to support and empower communities.

“I have always had a passion for giving back to my community,” she said.

Ms. Chowdhury says the Work Experience in Social Enterprise program also provided her the opportunity to gain experience in the Canadian workforce, which she says was valuable for future career opportunities and to learn the culture and traditions of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and Canadians.

The Work Experience in Social Enterprise program is a great opportunity, she says.

“You get to learn and also give what you have, especially when working with small businesses.”

Ms. Tulk also recommends the Work Experience in Social Enterprise program.

“It’s so important to smaller organizations like us,” she said. “I would be thrilled to have another student … and I would highly recommend it to anybody.”


Store Location: 25 Hebron Way, St. John's, NL

Hours of operation: Wednesday to Saturday - 10:00AM to 5:30PM