Sketched March 26, 2013
I may be crafty with pen and paper, but my handyman skills are pretty limited. That’s probably why I hadn’t heard of Second Use, a Seattle mecca for do-it-yourselfers who prefer to buy used materials for their home- improvement projects.
Jay Cook, who was browsing window frames when I met him, said it’s good to get something back in shape with a little elbow grease. Old cabinets from the original Amazon offices in Beacon Hill are now part of his garage remodeling project, and he also owns a 1925 urinal discarded after a Seattle school renovation.
Since 1994, Second Use has become one of the largest businesses of its kind in the area. It was founded in 1994 by the late Roy Hunter, a contractor who grew tired of seeing so many building materials being thrown away. His first inventory was discarded wood beams he retrieved from a construction site, said co-owner Michael Armstrong, a longtime employee. Today, more than 4,600 items are available at their new retail space in Sodo and can be seen on their website.
“We’ve always been looking for basic stuff anybody can use,” said Armstrong. “If you were building a cabin, you could get enough of the stuff here.”
Second Use’s new facility in Sodo feels like a Home Depot of used stuff. The building used to house the headquarters for Alaskan Brass and Copper, which is now based in Kent.