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Reclaiming Community Connections

Welcome to Episode 6 of our “Building a Low Impact Grocery Store” blog series! Over the past two weeks, we’ve been reflecting on the construction process of Nada and sharing lessons learned about how to build and renovate as low-impact as we know how. We’re almost done our little blog series, and hope that you’ve learned something along the way – we’d love to see your comments of what has resonated or what other questions you might have!

Our blog series has taken us through the entire construction process – from the design stage, into deconstruction and construction, and through to the outfitting stage. Our design ethic through all these steps was to incorporate “Reuse” whenever possible – and we’ve already talked about some of our wins that came from crowdsourcing from our community and purchasing second-hand.  Today we’re looking at “Reuse” from a slightly different lens – how can we incorporate “Reuse” even when we’re building custom pieces from scratch?

Reclaim. Reclaim. Reclaim.

Despite all the equipment and fixtures we were able to find second-hand, there’s still a lot of “new” fixtures being built for Nada. I put “new” in quotations because although these fixtures are custom-built, the materials within them aren’t new at all! All of our millwork (cabinetry, shelving, snack bar, wall installations) are made from reclaimed wood – and its coming from some pretty spectacular partners.

Introducing our millworkers – Woodshop Coop. Woodshop Coop is a custom furniture and millwork company born from the realization that so much good wood is discarded as waste every year. As a worker-owned coop, their impact is three fold: providing meaningful employment to their workers (who are all paid a living wage), supporting local community development initiatives (such as their fabulous partnership with Hives for Humanity), and creating products that are ethically and sustainably sourced. They’re also the friendliest bunch around!

Photos courtesy of Woodshop Coop walking through the process of using reclaimed wood. To see some of the finished products, check out their webpage, here!

Even cooler, the wood we’re working with comes from a collaboration with our honey supplier, Hives for Humanity!! Hives for Humanity is an incredible social enterprise that encourages community connections through apiculture (beekeeping). How does that fit with reclaimed wood? They’ve also started a joint project with Woodshop Coop – collecting bed frames and boxsprings, breaking them down, and creating custom furniture from the reclaimed wood. All of our fixtures, POS station, tare station, snack bar, and all of our shelving are being made from wood from this joint project! Talk about community connection, right?

Using reclaimed materials requires a little bit more creativity than the status quo, but we hope that this example shows that it’s that same creativity that can lead to solutions that are not only more environmentally friendly, but that also strengthen community relationships and shared innovation. And that’s a win in our books!