I have tasked myself with creating distance in the final week of my internship with Habitat’s ReStore. Policies and operating procedures have changed drastically since I assumed my role in May and it is proving difficult to separate myself from the projects I’ve initiated. I do not wish to cut off my involvement altogether, but I regard it as necessary to stand back and monitor the program from a more remote vantage point. In a week, I will not be around to interject myself into every new problem or to resolve challenges directly. I must restrain my instincts and be confident that the training I have provided and the policies I’ve put in place will keep the store functioning effectively when I depart.
My observations have been encouraging so far. The store is continuing to run smoothly and sales are continuing to rise. Customers seem to be exhibiting satisfaction, and the management team I helped train are executing their duties effectively. It is uplifting to witness the degree to which the store’s organization has improved over the last four months. What was a fragmented thrift operation, beholden to the whims of individual staff members, is returning to a formidable earned income operation with rapidly improving sales and quickly declining costs. The rule of policy is taking root, and new customer segments are making their way into the store. I find it difficult to leave. I have grown attached to more than just policies and plans, but to the volunteers, donors, customers and staff members who are making the store’s growth possible.