Surprising Stories of Serial Reuse

The ReUse People SpecialsBy Ted Reiff

When an item is worth reusing, it's often worth reusing again. And again. Furniture is handed down from one generation to the next. Clothing is passed through the sibling ranks. Books make the rounds among reading friends. And valuable antiques typically outlive multiple collectors, appreciating in value as they age.

Still, it's not often that a used item ends up back where it started, or, if it does, is recognized as having been there before. However, TRP has been around long enough now that I've witnessed several such occurrences, suggesting that materials reappear more often than we think. Customers buy an item from a TRP store, use it for a few months, or years, and then donate it back to us. We evaluate it, price it, and eventually sell it again.

I first experienced this phenomenon about 14 years ago, at our first northern California store, in San Leandro. As part of a deconstruction project, TRP crews salvaged a decorative open-work concrete block wall. It was painted an ugly orange. We salvaged all of the blocks and within a week sold every one. A year later the new owner of the building where the blocks were installed donated them back to us. I recognized the blocks because the top coat of paint was chipped, revealing that original ugly orange.

About four years ago a very good TRP customer, a contractor, purchased an entire set of single-pane, leaded glass casement windows, salvaged from a 1929 Tudor house. Unable to find the right project for them, he eventually donated every single window back to TRP. They were resold two months later.

Recently a customer donated a functioning gas stove purchased from TRP six years ago. As a replacement, he bought a bigger, better stove. When he told me the story, I laughed and said we expect him back in another six years for yet another stove upgrade.

And just last week a couple of people from movie studio stopped by the TRP Los Angeles store and bought cabinets, a toilet, bathtub and two light fixtures. They also purchased a very large window that they intended to refashion into a three-dimensional garden window. When these materials are no longer needed for set décor, they will probably come back to us, all cleaned up and repainted, ready for the next buyer.

In most cases, re-donated items can be expected to depreciate in value from one owner to the next. However, that's partly because TRP maintains uniformly low prices, even on items that might command more money at a different type of outlet — a high-end architectural salvage store, for instance. Occasionally an owner will paint, refurbish or adapt an item, in the process adding to its value before donating it back. The movie studio purchase is a likely example. If those items are returned, the next buyer may have to pay a slightly higher price.

To see these old friends again is to know that the cycle of reuse continues. I like that.

2015 National Reuse Contest

The 2015 National Reuse Contest is underway. If you are thinking about entering a project, please contact your local reuse store or warehouse and encourage them to participate.

Store managers, or anyone desiring more information on the 2015 contest, should contact:
Kelly Simione
Program Manager
National Reuse Contest

Employment Opportunity

TRP is seeking a versatile individual for the position of Crew Chief. Primary responsibilities include managing 5 and 10 person crews on deconstruction projects, maintaining jobsite safety and assisting the TRP deconstruction manager with estimating and bidding. The candidate must be bilingual (English/Spanish), adept in the use of Microsoft Office, knowledgeable concerning residential construction, and skilled in oral/written communication. Compensation is a combination of base salary plus incentive. TRP offers health care, the usual holidays and vacations, flexible spending accounts, a 401(k) program, and an outstanding work environment.

Specials of the Month

At the Oakland warehouse we are featuring plumbing fixtures and single kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Receive 25% off the price of any plumbing fixture or single cabinet in the warehouse through June 30.
The ReUse People Specials
The Los Angeles warehouse is featuring windows and interior doors. Receive 50% off the price of any window and 25% off the price of any interior door in the L.A. warehouse through June 30.
The ReUse People Specials
The San Bernardino warehouse is featuring its already low-priced appliances. Receive an additional 30% off the price of any appliance in the San Bernardino warehouse through June 30.
The ReUse People Specials

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse has new shipments of cement bricks.

The ReUse People Specials
New inventory at the Los Angeles warehouse includes a vintage iron hanging lamp with leaf and lemon accents, a retro-inspired vanity and toilet with modern design features, and a white porcelain pedestal sink with Kohler hardware.


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

New inventory at the San Bernardino warehouse includes a large shipment of drywall, priced at $7/sheet.

The ReUse People Specials

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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