Growing Companies

Father and son business owners Gary and Drew Dawson had a problem: The stock in their Covington store was clogging the shelves, and doors were literally falling out the doors. They had, Drew Dawson said, "more windows than you can throw a stone at." And Ohio customers were asking for a shop closer to home.

So the pair recently opened a second location of their green, non-profit business in South Fairmont, Drew Dawson said. They've been open since the beginning of March in the building - more than doubling their previous space - and business has been terrific, he said.

The company sells overstocked building and home-remodeling supplies that construction companies and builders have donated, instead of dumping out the unneeded product. The Re-Use Center also works to help tear down old buildings and recycle the materials, which aids in the reclamation of the land, and lessens the burden on landfills.

The Re-Use Center takes the materials from the older buildings and makes them ready to be re-used. Items it removes include old plumbing fixtures, copper pipe, water heaters, windows, doors, and other items. The company sends a team to the building with the equipment and manpower to recover all reusable materials before demolition.

The products, Dawson said, then are sold for about half the cost of the regular retail market. And while the catch is you may not always get what you want, if you try, you get what you need.

"Our customers are people who are looking for a decent product at a good price. We have homeowners who are looking for a bargain. We have people who simply like the green idea."

The donated products are building grade, and in some cases, uniquely made, Dawson said. For instance, the firm takes whatever paint products it gets, separates them into similar materials - interior paints with interior paints, flats with flat, gloss with gloss, and professionally blends them into its own colors, Dawson said. "Customers say our paints are as good as anything on the market," he adds.

This is the company's second location, and it totals 30,000 square feet. The first, which opened about three years ago at 315 E. 15th St. in Covington, has 20,000 square feet.

The store also turns around and donates to selected charities, Dawson said. One is Reset Ministries, which helps train former inmates for various jobs and helps them turn around their lives. Re-Use sometimes hires the men for temporary work at its stores, Dawson said.

Writer: Paul Long
Source: Drew Dawson, co-owner, the Cincinnati Re-Use Center

Cincinnati Re-Use Center
1530 Tremont St.
Cincinnati, OH 45214