Archive for January, 2015

Partnership is a Win-Win for Local Manufacturer and The RE Store

The RE Store has had some great partners in our 20 years of business, helping us divert materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. These partnerships have allowed consistent material supply flows, benefiting both customers and our Revision Division – and in turn saving the partnering company the cost of disposing those materials. 2014 brought us an amazing new partner in Itek Energy. Bellingham-based Itek Energy is Washington state’s largest manufacturer of solar panels and inverters. Rapidly helping grow Washington’s solar usage while providing jobs for graduates of Bellingham Technical College’s electronics program, they have gone from just six employees when they began in 2009, to over 35 in just a few short years. In that time their solar panel production has grown from 25 panels per day to over 300.

Itek Energy is very selective with the tempered glass they use to cover their solar panels. The glass needs to live up to their 30-year warranty, so after slow examination under intense light, any panels with minor chips or imperfections are discarded. Instead of disposing of them into a dumpster, since April 2014, Itek Energy has been donating the glass to The RE Store at a rate of 90 to 200 sheets per month. That saves them disposal fees and labor, while giving The RE Store up to $3600 in resale value per month.


Greenhouse prototype, created by Matt Vaughn, designer/builder, Revision Division



Having this unique and consistent manufacturing by-product has allowed us to explore new designs and get creative in our Revision Division. With the help of some seed money granted to us by Washington Educational Credit Union, we’ve designed and developed a greenhouse prototype. You may have seen the greenhouse out in the parking lot, in fact. While this greenhouse was built to sell,it is also meant inspire others to think about how to use this unique manufacturing by-product we have readily available in the store.


This greenhouse was built with 18 panels of the Itek Energy solar panel glass by a regular customer of The RE Store.

Itek Energy and other partners allow the Revision Division to perform the core mission of the program: Divert, Inspire, Educate, and Partner with the community. We can’t wait to identify more commercial partners with whom we can re-define waste.

Do you have a readily available manufacturing by-product?  Contact Kurt Gisclair (kurtg [at] about a partnership to reduce your cost and waste while getting tax benefits for your business.

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Volunteers of 2014 – We Couldn’t Have Done it Without You!

“When I started in this position a little over a year ago, I just hoped that we could help people in our community in some way. I was confident that we would be able to educate our trainees with skill-building, but realized over time we’d also be helping them become advocates for our environment, too. What I also recognized along the way is that our environment is not just the rivers, lakes, and oceans – it is the people as well.”
– Ben Lewis – Volunteer & Jobs Training Manager, The RE Store

Our Volunteer & Jobs Training Manager, Ben Lewis, with two of our valuable 2014 trainees – Frank (left) and Carlos (right)

One of the things we’re most proud of here at The RE Store from 2014 is our growing Jobs Training program, providing skills, confidence, and a future for so many individuals.

In 2014 we had:

 10 Trainees who worked a total of 1210 hours.

 91 Volunteers who worked a total of 1512 hours.

 and 123 Community Service Volunteers who worked a total of 2409 hours!

As they’ve gained a broad range of skills – everything from general store organizational tasks and proper use of tools, to building repurposed items for our RE Vision Division – they’ve also enjoyed the bonus of giving back to our broader community. Thank you to each and every one of those trainees and volunteers we’ve had in the store this past year!  We couldn’t have done it without you.

Posted in: Stories about people

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