“We found it would be more economical for us to reuse some of these materials instead of throwing them away and buying new ones,” Coates explained. “I think we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our environment.”“We had done studies to figure out what would happen if we tore down the existing site,” said Doug McNutt, Principal with Salus Architecture. “We realized that, yes, we could do that. But if we kept the original, we’d not only save money, we’d create something quite amazing.”
Earthwise Architectural Salvage was founded in Seattle in 1991 by Kurt Petrauskas. He was working as a demolition contractor and was struck by the unique and beautiful items that were being sent to landfills. Kurt started saving the items and holding yard sales, and soon the Seattle store was born. The Tacoma store opened in 2012 as their second location. Each store sources locally from the city around it.
Tacoma’s downtown had character. And instead of wiping it out, the city reclaimed it, just as it had reclaimed the waterways. In an effort to be sustainable and adaptive while keeping that character, the city stressed creatively repurposing and developing older and historic buildings, which other cities, including Seattle, had been tearing down for new development. Almost overnight, Tacoma became a leader in green building and creative reuse.