Looking for a clean, economical way to take apart your kitchen and make some money off the old fixtures and appliances? Want to donate some of your profits to your favorite charity?
If you answered in the affirmative to both of those questions, giving Green Demolitions (http://www.greendemolitions.com/) a look might be worth your while. The company recycles kitchens, appliances, bath fixtures, and just about anything of value from a luxury home, including doors and windows.
Steve Feldman, a former marketing manager for radio stations in Providence, R.I., founded Green Demolitions seven years ago. Before he got the idea for Green Demolitions, he was notable for his radio station becoming the first independent "Imus in the Morning" syndicated station. A recovering drug and alcohol addict, Feldman left the radio business 14 years ago to "try and give back to the organizations that helped save my life."
In March of 2001 he got the idea for Green Demolitions after driving by a Rockefeller Mansion in Connecticut formerly owned by Farah Palavi, the last Empress of Iran. The mansion, which was in the final stages of being torn down, gave Feldman the idea to recycle and sell the kitchen fixtures in luxury homes, with portions of the profit going to charity. Unfortunately, in a case of bad timing, the economic crisis after the 9/11 attacks would start later that year, delaying the starting date of Feldman's plan until June of 2005.
Since then the company has become the premier recycler of luxury kitchens, recycling kitchens across the tri-state area, including such luminaries as political activist Robert Kennedy Jr.
Green Demolitions began as a pilot program, running only on word of mouth through companies who built and fitted mansions and their customers. That model ran from 2005 until 2008, and was restricted to Fairfield County, Conn., and Westchester County, N.Y.
"Ninety percent of our donations came through Fairfield County," Feldman said. "People who hated to see their kitchens being thrown into a dumpster sought us out, and they knew it did some good to bring us in on the project."
Their business would rapidly expand as they expanded geographically, thanks to Dan Schwartz. Schwartz, the CEO of Karl's Appliances, a regional appliances store in the tri-state area, invited Feldman to expand their operation into New Jersey, much like stores and contractors had referred him back in Connecticut. Green Demolitions put down roots in Fairfield, N.J., opening a 43,000-square foot showroom just a few short miles from Karl's largest showroom. So far, the Fairfield store is Green Demolitions' only location, but Feldman said the size of the store made another location unnecessary.
"Because of the size of the store, we don't need three stores in three states," Feldman said. "One store means one environmental footprint, and making it one really good showcase store."
Although he operates a site and store now, Feldman said most of his clients still come through referrals. In a typical week, he gets anywhere between 25 to 50 project proposals. Last year Green Demolitions removed 800 kitchens and had 2,000 prospective buyers of those removed kitchens.
Feldman recently introduced a sister site to Green Demolitions, called Renovation Angel (http://www.renovationangel.org/). Just a six-week old venture, Renovation Angel's goal is to reach out to celebrities and super-wealthy homeowners who obtain a resale value of their kitchens over $10,000 to donate a portion of that profit to charity.
Depending on the kitchen's value, up to $10,000 total can be raised for charity, which is selected when the project proposal is submitted. The homeowner either can choose a charity of their choice, or one of Renovation Angel's four non-profit partners.
Their first celebrity client was "Nurse Jackie" star Edie Falco. Falco chose to donate to Dawn Animal, an agency that provides professional animals to TV and movies, and their cause Sanctuary for Animals, which currently cares for 700 animals.
"Edie came to our showroom and talked for five and a half hours to us and the media," Feldman said.
Former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer became the first "sports angel" for the new venture; Feldman said Toomer's kitchen will be dismantled in May.
Green Demolitions also is trying to expand its media appeal with the launch of Renovation Angel; the company is set to appear on a segment of NBC home improvement show "George to the Rescue" May 5 rebuilding a kitchen for charity.
"We rebuilt the Manhattan YMCA's kitchen," Feldman said. "Subzero and Wolf gave us brand new appliances to use. It was made to teach kids how to cook healthy foods."
Feldman added Green Demolitions will appear in an episode of the DIY Network's "Million Dollar Contractors," set to air later this year.
With Green Demolitions continuing to thrive and Renovation Angel seemingly ready to take off, Feldman has his eyes on expanding out of the Northeast.
"I want to take this model and replicate in Los Angeles and Chicago," he said.