Doomed Mannequins Escape Landfill Fate

By Ted Reiff

When TRP was founded 20 years ago, we named the company Building Materials Distributors (BMD). We often used the acronym when introducing ourselves and the company, or when answering the phone. For example, we’d say “Good morning, BMD,” or “I’m Ted Reiff, with BMD.”

Very quickly, we had a problem. People misheard “BMD” as “DMV” (Department of Motor Vehicles), so we had to clarify by saying, “No, BMD, Building Materials Distributors – you know, the reuse people.”

Before long people were phoning and asking, “Are you the reuse people?” So in 1996, when we had to change the company name (another, older company claimed the BMD name) we chose The ReUse People. I’ve always been happy with the choice, because reuse is really what we’re all about.

All of that history came to mind recently when I watched a special report on the PBS News Hour featuring a reuse business that actually reuses people. Well, fake people anyway—mannequins. I started thinking, a reuse person who reuses people and had a little fun with the word play. But never mind that.

Judi Henderson-Townsend named her e-commerce business Mannequin Madness. She acquires used mannequins from retail stores that no longer need them, restores them if necessary, then sells them over the Internet. Townsend keeps over 50 tons of mannequins out of landfills every year. Considering how little they weigh, that’s a bunch of “reused people.” Furthermore, the average retail store probably saves over $3,000 a year in landfill fees by sending discarded mannequins to Mannequin Madness.

One of the most intriguing things about reuse retailing is the creativity of customers. While some of TRP’s customers reuse building materials as originally intended (a door as a door), many others completely transform them—into art objects, furniture, motion picture sets, raised planter beds, greenhouses and tree houses, to name a few.

Mannequin Madness is no different. A refurbished mannequin can be used for display purposes in a store that cannot afford to buy new mannequins. Or it can be used as a dress form, garden art, lamp base, carpool lane decoy (not recommended), or silent sofa companion. Many buyers purchase arms, legs and headless torsos from Townsend’s “bone yard” and reuse them in innovative ways.

I’m thinking of purchasing a smiling mannequin—one who at least looks like she appreciates my humor.

The reuse business truly has no boundaries.

See: and

Special Events Reminders

November 23: Congratulations to TRP on the 20th anniversary of its founding!


Specials of the Month

At the Oakland warehouse we are featuring cabinets. Receive 25% off the price of any cabinet (no sets) in the warehouse through May 31.
The ReUse People Specials
The Los Angeles warehouse is featuring tile. Receive 75% off the price of any floor or wall tile in the warehouse through May 31.
The ReUse People Specials

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse has received delivery of fine stainless steel appliances, including a GE Monogram side-by-side refrigerator and Dynasty cook top.

The Los Angeles warehouse recently received several elaborately carved vintage wall heater grates, a beautiful oak entertainment center, and an elegant white pedestal tub, complete with fixtures.

The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials

Deconstruction & New Materials Update

Visit the TRP website for a complete list of current deconstruction projects and inventories. Just click on “Retail Sales” and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Location and Contact Information

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Oakland
9235 San Leandro Street
Oakland, CA  94603
(510) 383-1983; toll-free 888-588-9490
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-6:00 Closed Sunday

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Los Angeles
3015 Dolores Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00; Sat 10:00-4:00

Please visit our partnering warehouses:
Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Orange County (two convenient locations)
12827 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 590-8729
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00- 8:00; Saturday 9:00-6:00; Sunday 11:00-5:00
2200 S. Ritchey Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 434-6266
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-5:00; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Kansas City
4701 Deramus, Kansas City MO 64120
(816) 231-6889
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-6:00; Sat 9:00-4:00; closed Sunday

The ReBuilding Exchange, Chicago
1740 West Webster, Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 847-3761
Hours: Tues-Wed 10:00-6:00; Thurs 12:00-8:00; Fri-Sat 10:00-6:00

The ReUse Warehouse
800 Taylor Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 219-4913
Hours: Mon-Fri, 2:00-6:00; Sat, 9:30-5:00

Second Chance Building Materials Center
1423 West Grove Street
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 331-2707
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:00-6:00; Sun, 12:00-5:00

::Login::   Website by The ReUse People.