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 

New 'Indu' Retail Fixture line from Ecowood Retail Displays

Don George - Monday, February 23, 2015

Ecowood Displays has release details on it's new line of Retail Fixtures called 'Indu'. An outgrowth of it's popular Industrial Chic series of Moveable Feast Multipurpose Rolling pieces, the new line incorporates beautiful Reclaimed Wood along with the look of black iron pipe and fittings. Fully adjustable Faceout Arms allow for versatile product display. The new Cash Wrap rolls on Industrial Casters. Click here or call Ecowood at 800-452-1679 for more information. Available now. To take a look CLICK 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

Spring in the Wine Country

Don George - Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eco News

It's definitely spring here in the Sonoma Valley. The first new buds have appeared on the vines and we're ramping up for some exciting spring projects, but as always have plenty of other irons in the fire. Last year we rolled out a new line of retail furniture that has a new look and feel for us. We call it Industrial Chic. Combining elements of Reclaimed Wood, Recycled Barn Roofing and Galvanized Pipe, this line gives you that look and feel of the past with the functionality that you need today to display your products in their best light. Our great friends over at the Girl and The Fig use 3 very large versions of the Movable Feast bar in one of their venues. Shown here is a 120" version greeting guests for an event. The Moveable Feast can be used as a bar, buffet and even as a desk for cooking classes! I know, because I attended one.


Yes, longboards. We've been using waste materials from our Cash Wrap projects to make awesome veneers that we press into pro grade Ecowoodie© Longboards. Using top of the line trucks and wheels, some consider our boards too beautiful to ride, but they are designed and built to be ridden. You could hang one on the wall and just admire it's awesomeness, or shred down the nearest hill. Your choice...


We have many more new things coming down the pipeline so stay tuned...

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?"



Staying Green, the easy way...

Don George - Friday, September 16, 2011

  Going green doesn't always mean choosing great new sustainable products. Sometimes it's as simple as recognizing that what you have already is functional, beautiful and can easily be given new life.  Such is the case with The Girl and The Fig restaurant here in Sonoma. When making the decision to buy new bar stools, I know, not what you were thinking, they have chosen to reuse great old classically styled stools. Even though they have quite a few stories to tell, including a few of my own, they have many years left of good service. We are removing the old finishes without any chemicals and refinishing using a naturally derived finish that can easily be maintained.  The result will be furniture that will get better with age, something I wish for all of us as well...


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...


The Devil in Plastic Bags and the Industry That Makes Them

- Monday, June 13, 2011
If you have been paying attention the last few months, you have heard that the plastics industry has been going after municipalities for banning one-time-use plastic shopping bags.  If you have been following us on Twitter, I have been filing these articles in the "Cut Me A Break" file with the hashtag #plastic.  The industry has also filed suit against reusable bag companies, namely, our favorite, ChicoBag. The suit claims that ChicoBag made false statements in their marketing about the benefits of ChicoBags vs. the detriments of plastic one-time-use shopping bags.  Today's Treehugger article reported that the plastics industry may have a hard time proving their case.  Ya think?

A couple months ago, I attended the expo at the CA Green Summit.  Not long after walking through the entrance door I came to the booth sponsored by The American Chemistry Council.  They were handing out pamphlets titled, "Plastics. Too Valuable To Waste".  They offered me a bag made of recycled shopping bags that could hold my shopping bags at home. "No thanks. No need."

 I never really thought too much about these plastics bags until about tens years ago.  I was fly fishing up in the beautiful Hat Creek Valley and I saw a grocery bag submerged near the shoreline of the pond I was floating on.  I took my net and tried to scoop it up and, poof,  it disintegrated into a bazzillion pieces. The tiny pieces were the perfect size for trout to swallow and no doubt they would.  That was the day I not only swore off plastic bags (and got my ChicoBags on), but made a commitment to begin eliminating plastics from my life and from our products at Ecowood Retail Store Displays and Fixtures.  

We've done pretty well.  We started by looking at the way we package our reclaimed wood Floor Fixtures and Point of Sale modules.  Then we looked at our parts and hardware and made some improvements there.  Next we found an alternative to the plastic hangers that many of our customers were using and created B*green Bamboo Clothing Hangers. The biggest challenge has been our pallet bundling materials.  Recyclable metal banding was damaging products during handling in spite of cushions, so we still use nylon.  And an alternative to pallet wrapping system has yet to be found so we switched to the greenest stretch film we could find (Thank you Dennis!).  It's an ongoing challenge, but we are determined!

So what about you?  Do you use plastic bags or packaging in your retail stores or in your product?  If so, what would it take to get you to commit to the elimination of plastic from your business?