Do you remember your first visit to Earthwise? Did you find yourself wandering, pondering, or just asking why? Or maybe, you haven’t visited one of the stores yet! At Earthwise, we strive to know the answers to everything salvage, everything vintage, and well everything needed to help you with your project. Having worked at Earthwise for over 2 years in the Seattle location, I have been asked a lot of the same questions as well as some unusual ones. Today, I will share some the most frequently asked questions from customers with you…
10 most commonly asked questions by Earthwise Customers
How long has this place been around?
Earthwise has been in business for OVER 20 years in Seattle, and we just recently celebrated 2 years in Tacoma!
How did this place get started?
Earthwise is owned by Kurt Petrauskas, and he’s been here since the verrrrrrrry beginning of the salvage movement in Seattle…heck – the Pacific Northwest practically! He was a contractor that dabbled in demolition and would save pieces from projects because they were too awesome to throw away. When his garage started to overflow he held a yard sale, which became more and more frequent and before you know it Earthwise was officially born in 1991.
Why is there a sign that says “new location” in Seattle?
While we have been at our current Seattle location for a little over 8 years, this is our third SODO neighborhood address. Before Seattle’s current home, we were at 1st Ave S & Lander (the big Red Barn), 2462 1st Ave S; and before that, we called a now razed building at 7th Ave S & Lander our very first SODO home. And, A LONG TIME ago we were in a garage and yard as an interesting garage-sale-type establishment in Kenmore. Check out the slideshow of our past locations in this post for some visuals.
Wait – you have a Tacoma location?!?!
Yes – we sure do, and it’s a mighty fun place. In fact, I can’t believe you haven’t been there yet! While we’re on the subject…
Is the Tacoma store the same size/style/etc?
Yes…and no? When I think of the Tacoma store, it’s exactly what I would expect Earthwise in Tacoma to be! It’s in a vintage sawmill for pete’s sakes – how cool is that!? And, yes, technically, it is the same square footage but with more yard space, but no, the store definitely has its own Earthwise flair – which is a good thing because it reflects its local community and staff. This same saw mill is where we still mill all of our reclaimed, old growth beams into slightly more manageable sizes. Take a tour of the Tacoma store here!
Where does Earthwise get all this stuff?
Our salvage crew (1 box truck and 2 guys) go to homes and buildings within 50 miles of the Seattle- and Tacoma-areas that are being torn down, deconstructed, and remodeled…THIS is how we get 90% our cool stuff! The rest is from all of YEW – your donations, your drop-offs, and of course, the items you bring in to sell us!
What stuff will you take/won’t you take/are you interested in?
Earthwise specializes in vintage building materials, anything pre-1950’s we love! But, as we always say, there are LOADS of exceptions to this general rule. If it’s high quality, rare, quirky, funky, or just different and not from that era – we still might be able to take it and/or even reimburse you for it! Check this handy list or give either location a call/shoot us an email with photos of items you want to know whether we will accept. And, of course, you can always bring it in!
How do I get a job here? Who works here?
Earthwise is staffed by 14 people – between 2 locations! Many of us came to work here from our more formal trainings as designers or musicians or other creatively-minded fields; some have construction backgrounds like our owner; and one was even a welder on a fishing boat! If you are interested in joining our salvage family – check out our current openings! We promise, you don’t have to be crazy to work here – we can teach you!
So, who uses this cool stuff?
We work with everyone you can think of! Homeowners, contractors, restaurants, historic properties, designers, photographers, theater groups, artists…probably at least one person in your family! We also work with three non-profit partners and many local community organizations on regular basis. Many people are restoring old homes or building new, sustainable buildings right here in our community, but we’ve had clients from all over the world! We feature projects and whole buildings that have used our stuff through our #EWFamous inspiration section – send us your project photos using Earthwise stuff and your photo might be featured!
Wow – so, how much reusable stuff is salvaged and saved from the landfill?
The salvage industry in Seattle helps to reduce ONLY 7-9% of construction debris and reusable materials going into the landfill each year…and that’s with the 3 salvage stores that are here! BUT that’s increased from just 3% -5% 6 years ago! We can continue reducing our carbon footprint by making larger community efforts to ensure quality, reusable materials are reused and/or recycled.
**BONUS INFO: Yes, we have tape measures for your use while shopping! Yes, we have a public restroom. The best way to shop at either location is with a coffee in hand, being open to being inspired because – TRUST ME! – no matter what you think you are looking for, something else you hadn’t thought of will somehow make its way home with you.
And, most importantly, welcome to our funky family!
Written by Lacy Kabrich, Earthwise Salvage – Seattle Store Manager.