Here at work I receive literally hundreds of unsolicited e-mails daily. To be honest, most of them go directly into the “Trash” folder, but one has become a “must read” for me. It is the one I get every couple of days from the folks at Repurposed Materials (www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com), a Henderson, Colo.-based company that sells industrial castoffs.
The company motto is a definition: re●pur●posed●MA●TE●RI●ALS (noun) – byproducts and waste that have value “as is” to a second, unrelated industry.
As I scrolled down past listings for industrial conveyer belts, swimming pool covers, Astro Turf, bowling alley wood and highway sound walls my first thought was “Why the Hell am I receiving this?” But after giving it some thought I found this would be the ideal site for retailers and store designers looking to remodel or build a unique shopping experience for their customers.
There are boulders perfect for landscaping, railroad ties from actual railroads, vintage soda machines that would look really cool in any vestibule, and 275-gallon food grade totes that would be perfect for watermelons, pumpkins or maybe creating the world’s largest vat of store-made salsa. Some buyers have even fashioned the totes into septic tanks for their country cabins.
Those 9-foot-by-12-foot weathered wood panels that were once a sound wall along the interstate have a “very nice, weathered patina” according to the web site. I think they might create a nice New England dock look along the walls or floor of a seafood department.
And that used bowling alley wood would surely create a nice, long-lasting floor covering for maybe a produce, housewares or bakery department. An astute retailer could even floor their Aisle of Values in bowling alley wood and state that every walk down it results in a “strike of values.”
How about using that putting green turf (available in 15-foot-wide-by-85-foot-long rolls) as carpeting in the garden center?
What happens to the plastic sheets on billboards when the signs are changed? They end up at Repurposed Materials where they find new life as waterslides and catch ponds for children at camp, or maybe as a tarp to cover a leaky roof.
The galvanized steel cable used on highway medians “once a section is removed for road repair DOT mandate requires that new cable be re-installed,” the web site states [thanks for thinking of the taxpayers DOT!] is still perfectly good. Repurposed Materials shows it being repurposed as a mooring line at a marina in Idaho, but I think it would make an ideal fence for a shopping cart corral, or guardrail for stores alongside a creek or ravine.
And the 28-foot-long pedestrian golf cart bridge would be ideal for connecting your store to the senior citizens complex on the other side of that creek.
So check out www.repurposedmaterials.com. It will quickly become a favorite site for retailers with a creative streak. But please stay away from the Nigerian prince who has just come into an inheritance and needs someone’s bank account number so he can share his wealth. I already called first dibs!