Ecowood Blog

Discussions about Ecowood Displays and how we interact with the Green world. 

Do Shoppers Give A Hoot About Sustainability?

Don George - Thursday, March 12, 2015
A recent article in the National Real Estate Investor asks the question, "Retail Sustainability: Do Shoppers Really Care?" 

We have been building out green retail interiors for over twenty years now and can tell you that it does matter to many shoppers. Our clients are happy to display the signage we provide to them to tell the story of the reclaimed wood we used in their project. It makes a statement about their company's values and exposes their shoppers to the concept of reuse and conservation. Shoppers take note and identify this with the store's brand. Even smaller retailers can benefit greatly by building their brand using sustainability as a core value.

Read the original article here 

Five Tips Before Opening Your New Store...

Don George - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Opening Soon!!

1. Get a three ring binder. Fill it with printed or copied pages of your materials, hardware, colors and vendors and subcontractors. OK, in the digital world we live in, a binder seems a little weird, but it's a great tool. When you have lots of people searching for answers about lighting fixtures, vendor info, your color choices and all of the other questions, it's right there on the jobsite, ready for even the biggest technophobe to peruse and get that answer without hunting you down.

2. Communicate! Text, email, call or shout, but make sure everyone is on the same page about the schedule, details and tasks. Have everybody that is on the project's cell phone number and email. Just because the architect's drawing shows something, don't assume that all the players saw it or understand it. You won't offend anyone, I hope, and the end result is a store that is what you ask for.

3. Think ahead. Timing is everything, they say. Keep a drop dead list of all the parts of your project so that fixtures, product and essentials are ordered far enough in advance so that the bugs and gremlins that tend to show up at the last minute won't hurt your opening date.

4. Use your team to it's fullest. There is an enormous sense of ownership when you put together a new store. As an entrepreneur, you tend to micro-manage and stay in control of everything around you. Getting to that opening day will require you to delegate out a large amount of tasks that you would normally do yourself. Just keep that binder up to date and keep the whole team focused on the end game.

5. Be realistic about the schedule. Imposing unrealistic deadlines for your store project can make things happen in a way you would never expect. Mistakes will happen, but super tight deadlines amplify their effect and the consequences ripple throughout the project. I know that making lease payments while this process plods along hurts in so many ways, but opening later than you planned has an even greater impact.

Don, Head Ecowoodie

Happy Anniversary Ecowood Displays

Don George - Tuesday, January 06, 2015

In the words of the Beatles, "It was twenty years ago today..." Well, maybe not today, but this year marks the twentieth year since the Ecowood line of store fixtures was pushed out the door. The original line of about 5 pieces was developed to make better use of the waste material that came from timber frame components. Being outdoor junkies, Richard and Erika started showing their products at the original Outdoor Retailer trade show in Reno, Nevada. We've been a fixture, (pardon the pun), at the show for the better part of the last two decades, often exhibiting twice a year.  

Colette and I took over September 1, 2001, just in time to see the economy grind to a halt after 9/11. We hung in there and have been growing ever since. The original line of fixtures has grown quite a bit since then and we have shipped pieces and complete store interiors all around the world. Keep an eye on us this year as we launch new and innovative products that will help your business grow.

And about that store in the photo, that's Stone Canyon Outfitters. Owner Don Morrison stuck with us through the difficult period after 9/11 and helped us to weather that storm. Always grateful to him for that…

Don and Colette, Head Ecowoodies

A New Year and New Member of the Ecowood Team...

Don George - Monday, January 05, 2015

Happy New Year from all of us here at Ecowood Displays. Another year has come and gone here in the Sonoma Valley and as we await the first signs of Spring we are building out our first projects of the year. We are currently wrapping up a beautiful restaurant and starting production of a new womens activewear store. 

In addition to new projects, we have a new sales manager, Bob Baeyen. Bob will be working with our customers to develop new and exciting retail interiors that will help to show your products in their best light. You can reach Bob by clicking here or give us a call at (800)452-1679.


The Girl and The Fig And Ecowood Displays: Will work for food?

- Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Girl and The Fig and Ecowood Displays:  Will work for food?

You may remember a while back we were very excited to do a little custom project for, hands down, our favorite restaurant in Sonoma (the world?).  When the owner, Sondra Bernstein, called us to see how we might help with a new project, we were ready to lend a hand.  The Kickstarter project, Suite d, was to be "an unlikely place for uniquely fun times and culinary inspiration". 


We started with four massive barn doors made with our reclaimed Douglas fir beams (Tracy) 

during Phase One.  They cover up the industrial roll up door from the inside and when the outdoor patio was in use, they would open to provide passage between in the indoor and outdoor spaces.

Then we finished Phase Two with what would be termed the "movable feast bars".  These were designed and constructed to be rustic and versatile.  One side would be a serving buffet.  Turn it around and it can be used as a service bar.  Put them back to back and they are a two sided buffet.  Or you could create an "L" or a "U" get the idea!

btw....we bought the cooking class and will be sharing with our friends from Conscious Corners.  Looking forward to cooking up some farm fresh veggies and maybe a local fish or two.


A New Look with Ecowood "Do Over" During Trouble Economic Times

- Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One of our long standing customers came to us with the desire to create of fresh and uniform look among their chain of stores to redefine their brand.  With the economy being what it was, there was not enough budget to start from scratch.  In addition, a make over, using what you already have, is a very green and eco friendly choice.  From the very beginning, we have built Ecowood Displays to have a long life of useful purpose.  Some of the Ecowood Displays that we would be making over were ten years old and still going strong.


The Old Bellevue Store

To create the new look, we worked with their designers to implement the plan to change out some of the parts on the existing Ecowood Displays with galvanized steel.  We also used some of our post-industrial waste from our cash wrap production line to create a new "skin" that was applied to existing cash wraps, for a fresh and current look.   The result was remarkable.  See for yourself!


The New Seattle Store


The New Los Gatos Cashwrap

So take a look around your store(s).  Do you need a makeover?  Give us a call.  We'd love to explore the possibilities with you! 800-452-1679    Ask for the Head Ecowoodie, Don.  He is our idea guy!



"Why Is There A Bra Hanging In Your Office?"

- Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Why is there a bra hanging in your office?" I can't tell you how many times I heard that question asked over the past few months. The bra that I speak of was hanging right next to Don's desk, so, a few not so politically correct remarks floated about as well.  The REASON was, we were working on a new and fun project for our favorite gals at Title Nine Sports. We had been helping them re-brand their stores with retrofits on their existing retail displays (a very green, eco thing to do, btw) and adding fresh cash wraps, faced with our reclaimed post-industrial wood. The "No Bounce Zone" area was designed to bring it all together for the wow factor.  

After many hours of planning, meetings and revisions, more meetings, more revisions, we got to pull the trigger and bring The Bra Wall to life.  We were able to use a lot of reclaimed post-industrial fall down for the "boxes" and found a nice white paint that fit our green standards. The backing was produced by the staff at T9 and if you look closely, you'll see the words are words and slang used to describe, for lack of a better word, "boobs".  Melons, eggplants, headlights.  You get the picture.

We love the way it looks and hope it brings great success to our gals.  If you are In the Palo Alto, CA area for any reason, stop into Title Nine Sports for a peek and say "hi"!   Or stop in your local T9 and ask. "When is The Bra Wall coming?"



Saving The Planet With Agave, Surf and Wine

Don George - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sustainability can take many forms, from large scale solar farms powering homes and businesses to the simple act of composting your kitchen waste into a powerful plant nutrient. At Ecowood Displays, we take reclaiming materials and producing new useful products from them very seriously. This story is a little bit different, but extols the message of sustainability just as loudly.  

I found a handwritten note in my mailbox a couple of weeks ago requesting permission to cut down a couple of dead Agave Americana that were close to the road. Answering the number on the note was Don, a soft spoken man who proceeded to tell me how he wanted to craft a surfboard from the "wood" gleaned from the prickly plants.  Not one to shy away from a mini adventure, I set a date and plans were made.

Chain saws, ropes and ladders were pressed into service and the four deceased agave stalks were cut into ten foot lengths and loaded into the back of Don’s Ford pickup truck. Because the truck was loaded to the max, the surfboard that he brought to show me had to stay at the house. (not a thank you gift!!!)

I brought the board to work on Monday so that Don could pick it up at the shop.  Oohs and aahs abounded as all the wood junkies around here ogled the cool board. Turns out Don is the head winemaker at Three Sticks Winery, a very hot artisan winery here in Sonoma. Don’s pedigree includes a long stint as the winemaker at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood.

So just where is the sustainability part of this story, you ask? Simple. 1. You harvest a dead Agave Americana stalk and build a surfboard for your son. 2. You plant a handful of new Agave plants. 3. Ten years later the new plants have grown to full size and flowered and died. 4. Your son leaves a handwritten note in my mailbox asking if he can cut down the stalks to make a surfboard for his son. and on, and on...


Rematerial, New Trend or Old News?

Don George - Wednesday, May 18, 2011
     In an ever changing world of greenwashing and green products that verge on outright fraud, the ability to repurpose and reuse materials that would otherwise enter the waste stream just seems too simple of a concept to work. Unfortunately, many people view waste as that unwanted collection of stuff that just needs to go away. Many don't know what happens to their waste after they throw it in the trash bin. It just seems to magically disappear, creating a neat and tidy space for them to live in. As a manufacturer of lines of products that are made from waste, I view the waste stream quite differently. For me, waste is a valuable resource that is at the very core of my business. Without it, Ecowood Displays would be just another manufacturer making products that have no place in this fragile eco-system. Check out this great article in Inhabitat about author Alejandro Bahamon's new book, "REMATERIAL, from Waste to Architecture" for another view of waste as a resource.

Garden Harvest Donation presented

- Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Presenting to the Executive Director, Jim Dasher were Don & Colette George  (standing in front of our EcoShelving!)

We were very happy to gather with our friends at Conscious Corners in Maryland, and present a donation to one of their chosen charity organizations, Garden Harvest.   

The mission of Garden Harvest is the alleviation of hunger & the improvement of nutrition of economically disadvantaged citizens worldwide.  They accomplish this by the establishment of community farms that teach people, of all ages & any ethnic background, the methods of organic and sustainable production of fruit, vegetables, eggs, & wool. In the near future they will also include milk & cheese.  The goal is for them to learn how to grow food for themselves & for others.  No food is sold and all extra food is donated to local food banks.  They provide the fresh and perishable foods that so many food banks are lacking.

It is the good folks at both of these organizations that make the work we do such a pleasure!