Gauging the Used Building-Materials Market

By Ted Reiff

The ReUse People SpecialsAfter devoting more than 20 years to the marketing and sales of used building materials, I still encounter people, organizations and government agencies that don't have a clue how extensive the demand is for salvaged materials. I'm talking about a world of unrecognized and underserved consumers.

At least once a month I receive a telephone call from someone wanting to do a market study to assure themselves and others (believe it or not, the USEPA) that there really is a market for used building materials. Even though TRP and other retailers have been demonstrating the vibrancy of that market for over two decades.

As I told a recent Chicago-based caller, don't worry about the local market. If you offer the materials the buyers will show up. Or, if you don't want to risk setting up a resale business, send the materials to TRP. We can't get enough.

Another frequent caller is the one who proposes doing a "pilot" deconstruction project to assure themselves that deconstruction works and that choosing deconstruction over demolition for a particular project will benefit the community. In my opinion, enough pilot programs and market studies have already been done. The results are clear. Deconstruction has been an environmental and economic win-win in virtually every locale where it is has been competently performed.

But I digress. Back to retail markets.

At TRP, our biggest retail challenge is procuring a steady supply of materials, and I'm pretty sure other retailers of used building materials would agree. I have never heard of a used building-materials outlet going out of business because they had too much inventory. On the other hand, I know of several who are no longer around because they could not satisfy demand.

Many store managers have a phobia against certain types of materials — single-pane windows, older appliances, plumbing fixtures — and that can be a problem. Another problem is poor planning; for example, leasing a facility without adequate outdoor laydown space for lumber, bricks and other bulk materials. Every time you eliminate a category of materials you reduce the size of your market.

The secret to success in this business is pretty simple, at least in theory (execution is obviously more difficult). Stock lots of high quality used building materials and sell them at very low prices. The market is there, waiting to be served.

Specials of the Month

At the Oakland warehouse we are featuring kitchen and bathroom single cabinets (no sets). Receive 25% off the price of any single cabinet through December 31.
The ReUse People Specials
The Los Angeles warehouse is featuring doors. Receive 25% off the price of any interior or exterior door in the warehouse through December 31.
The ReUse People Specials
The San Bernardino warehouse is also featuring doors. Receive a 15% discount on any interior or exterior door in the warehouse through December 31.
The ReUse People Specials

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse has received an abundance of pavers. Buy now and get a head start on spring hardscape projects.

New inventory at the Los Angeles warehouse includes a Kitchen Aid stainless steel range/oven in immaculate condition, a porcelain pedestal sink with dual porcelain legs, and a solid steel chandelier with crystal-adorned light shades. Wow!

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

TRP-HACSB ReUse Warehouse - San Bernardino
660 East Orange Street
San Bernardino, CA  92410
(909) 388-6475
Hours: Tue-Sat 9:00-6:00 Closed Monday and Sunday

Please visit our partnering warehouses:
Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Orange County (two convenient locations)
The Home Improvement Store That Builds Homes
1656 West Katella Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92802
(Euclid and Katella Avenue)
(714) 434-6266
Mon-Fri 9:00 am- 8:00 pm;
Sat 9:00 am- 6:00pm;
Sun 11:00 am- 5:00 pm

The Home Improvement Store That Builds Homes
1400 Village Way, Santa Ana, CA 92705
(McFadden Place Shopping Center, exit 55 Freeway at McFadden)
(714) 434-6266
Mon- Sat 9:00 am- 6:00 pm;
Sun 10:00 am- 5:00 pm

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 ReUse Warehouse
1400 East Geer Street
Durham, NC 27704
(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

Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity
7025 Hwy 82
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 945-7733
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:00-5:30; Sat, 10:00-5:00; Sun, 11:00-4:00

Stardust Building Supply
3901 E. Thunderbird Road
Phoenix, AZ 85032
(602) 459-9803
Hours: Mon-Sat, 8:00-6:00; Sun, 10:00-4:00

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salt Lake Valley,
1276 South 500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 263-0136
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Summit & Wasatch Counties
6280 N. Silver Creek Drive, Silver Summit, UT
(435) 487-9015
Hours: Wed-Sat 10:00-6:00; closed Sunday

Recycle Utah
1951 Woodbine Way Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-9698
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-5:30; Sun 10:00-4:00

Reuse Depot
50 West Madison
Maywood, IL 60153
(708) 223-0502
Hours: Wed-Mon 10:00-6:00p; Closed Tuesdays

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