What happens to materials in a home when it has to be demolished for renovation or after a natural disaster? This question puzzled Caroline Kostak, a former NASA Flight Controller, and RePurpose Depot was born. RePurpose Depot (RPD) is a retail startup that was established to utilize materials that would otherwise go to waste from remodeling jobs, renovations, or from homes only partially destroyed by natural disaster but could be salvaged. To answer questions and reintroduce themselves to the city of Houston, the RePurpose Depot open house will take place on June 23rd from 10am-4pm. Guests will be treated to hourly door prizes, free refreshments, as well as DIY workshops and demos that will be led by local volunteers.
After talking to Russell Klein yesterday, RPD’s Community Engagement Director, and the District of Columbia’s former Solid Waste/Recycling Educator, we got a better understanding of the true mission of the RePurpose Depot. Fundamentally, RPD’s leadership see themselves as repurposing products and people as nearly every member has dramatically changed their place or position to commit to the cause. Thus, Caroline left NASA, Russell left Washington, DC, and RPD’s deconstruction team was deliberately set up to assist individuals seeking to develop new skills or life opportunities. Thus, at this time, most members of their deconstruction team are enrolled in substance recovery programs, and on their way to new futures of their own making.
In its current form, RPD came together when Russell encountered Caroline by way of a LinkedIn posting by a mutual colleague. The essay described the RPD startup as an architectural salvage and hinted at the potential to help victims of the recent hurricane to rebuild less expensively. Eight weeks later, Russell arrived in Houston to be a part of this great cause that was calling his name. Russell explained that operating a small business can take a lot of effort but he loves this position because he genuinely enjoys being physically engaged in his work. Russell feels a strong connection with RePurpose Depot because “people come in with a specific need that we are helping them solve. There’s no better feeling than helping those who need it most.” RePurpose Depot mainly focuses on recovering and selling lumber, siding, flooring, and fixtures priced to fit any budget.
RePurpose Depot hopes customers will be patient with them as they grow after Hurricane Harvey and beyond. The warehouse they are currently located in is a little smaller than they would like, but the need is expanding exponentially. Once they get the routine and customer base up, they would like to move to a larger facility and purchase their truck fleet rather than renting it.
If you take a look at social media for online customer feedback, you can see that RePurpose Depot has very high ratings. Customers come to RePurpose Depot for a personal experience and interaction with the friendly employees. Customers do not have to just be victims of the most recent hurricane or flooding. Landlords, interior designers, or just folks who need affordable renovation materials can shop freely at the warehouse.
Donations can also be made to lessen costs for the facility. Some items that are acceptable to donate to RePurpose Depot are modern windows (nothing with lead), flooring, doors, light fixtures, furniture, lower cabinets and more. If you have any questions about what is acceptable to donate, simply contact the facility.
If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer or a sponsor of the open house this weekend, want to provide food or drink samples, or are a member of the press, contact Russell Klein at RePurposeDepot@gmail.com for more information or check out www.RePurposeDepot.org. If you have no plans Saturday, swing by 305 McFarland Street, HTX 77011, off Navigation Boulevard, on June 23rd for the open house. We hope to see you there!
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