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.
The biggest challenge in running a retail establishment for salvaged building materials is not attracting customers, or pricing merchandise, or staying competitive. And it doesn't have much to do with storage, display or making used materials look attractive. Although all of these things are important, the biggest challenge is simply obtaining sufficient inventory.
While this may not be true of reuse stores selling furniture or high-end architectural pieces, it is almost always true for stores and warehouses, such as TRP, whose mission is to keep reusable materials out of overburdened landfills by reclaiming and returning to the market as much of it as possible.
You've heard of promotional teasers-those advance tidbits about upcoming movies, TV shows and hot new products. They're intended to start a drumroll, whet appetites, build anticipation, bring people to the edge of their seats.
Well, that's what this month's post is — a teaser. I'll even tell you what it's for — bookends.
I remember when the arrival of spring triggered a sweeping (no pun intended), top–to–bottom housecleaning. In many places, it still does. However, these days many of us must regularly assess and renew not only our physical space, but our online presence as well. Just like houses, websites get messy and gradually lose their effectiveness.
At TRP, we increasingly rely on our website to connect with, inform and persuade the public regarding the benefits of building–materials salvage and reuse. So, this spring we plan to take a careful look at how the TRP website is working and make some needed changes.
Another successful National Reuse Contest has come to a close. Hundreds of entries were submitted to participating stores. Each store selected local winners and forwarded those to The ReUse People for final judging. National winners were chosen in late December.
The complexity and uniqueness of projects increased again this year, in keeping with a trend that has been building since the contest’s inception.
TRP began 2014 in a decidedly lackluster manner. The slump could be felt in every aspect of the business and, quite frankly, I was concerned. Happily (and largely inexplicably), the outlook began to change in early July. In the final analysis, TRP's 21st year proved to be the most successful in the company's history.
After 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.
In September a reader sent me an article from The New York Times. “After 55 Years in Vaunted Spot, a Picasso Is Persuaded to Curl,” by Benjamin Mueller, describes the delicate, nail-biting process of removing a 95 year-old stage curtain painted by Pablo Picasso, which had been attached to a wall in the Four Seasons restaurant since 1959. Once removed, "Le Tricorne," became the property of the New York Historical Society.
Calling all artists, furniture makers, DIY remodelers and builders of greenhouses, tool sheds, chickens coops, container houses and other habitats, whole or partial. We have reached the homestretch of the 2014 National Reuse Contest. To compete in this year's contest, entries must be received at local participating stores by midnight Friday, October 31.
In mid August TRP enjoyed a rare visit from one of its European counterparts. Visiting from Finland was Kati Hinkkanen, Development Manager with Helsinki Metropolitan Area Reuse Centre, a nonprofit social enterprise organization whose mission is “to improve the state of the environment by reducing the amount of waste and by offering an alternative to single-use culture.”