In the spring of 2013, TRP signed an agreement with the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB) to conduct training programs in both deconstruction and retailing, and to open and manage a used building-materials retail store in the county.
All of the training programs were completed several months ago. The much anticipated retail operation will be ready to open later this month.
As many readers of this blog know, TRP originated in the San Diego area. A transplanted mid-westerner, I lived in that city for some 30 years before moving the company to the Bay Area, and myself along with it. When I was ready to purchase a home, it made sense to start my search in various East Bay communities. However, after two frustrating years and more than a dozen losing offers, I somewhat reluctantly shifted my focus back to San Diego.
We often feature creative ideas on The Velvet Crowbar to show how materials can be reused, and there seems to be no limit to the creativity and cleverness that abounds when people decide to make reuse their goal. From creating something incredibly functional, such as boxed toilet paper rolls used to organize cables and electrical cords, to something incredibly artistic, such as an old bike reused as a sink stand, it seems there isn't anything that CAN'T be done with used materials.
In the February 12, 2014, edition of his blog, Building Blocks, which appears regularly in the New York Times, David W. Dunlap describes the imminent demolition of the American Folk Art Museum on West 53rd Street, New York, noting that the new owner, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) plans to salvage the 63 metal panels that comprise the facade of the building.
By Ted Reiff
TRP’s anniversary is November 29 because that’s the day we actually started doing business. We don’t count all the prior days spent thinking about doing business, writing the business plan, incorporating, and receiving federal approval as a nonprofit organization, all of which took a good seven months. But just so you know, the spark was ignited in April, 1993, so in my heart I’m celebrating this month.
This year we’re not waiting for Spring to arrive before rolling out our annual Reuse Contest. Entries and feedback from previous years have made it abundantly clear that people need all the time they can get to plan and execute some of the amazing projects entered in the competition.
When we first introduced the Reuse Contest several years ago, our purpose was to promote the reuse of building materials and to give our customers an additional incentive to incorporate salvaged materials wherever possible when building, remodeling or creating signature products such as furniture and works of art. After starting in the San Francisco Bay Area, we quickly expanded to include the rest of California, and in 2012 went national.
The second annual National Reuse Contest came to a close on October 31, 2013, the last day for participating reuse stores to enter their local winners in the national competition. National winners were chosen in late November.
Before I divulge the winners, I’d like to thank the dozens of stores and store managers who participated in this year’s contest. The total number of entries more than doubled from 2012. Because of the excitement generated by this contest, and the number of people who wanted to enter but simply could not get their projects completed, TRP has decided to extend the entry period for next year’s contest from seven to 10 months and to launch the contest in January
Many of us have great stories about the different and unique ways we or others have reused things. The following case involves the ingenious reuse of countless numbers of a single type of common item—wrenches.
One of our TRP advisors forwarded to me a series of photos of sculptures made from nothing but wrenches. I suspect it was one of those “Can you believe this?” items making rounds on the web. The artist is John Piccoli of Victoria, Australia. Locally, he is known as “The Spanner Man.” Spanner is the British and Australian word for what Americans call a monkey wrench.