From recycled tile to toilets, Go Green Warehouse helps the environment and veterans

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Go Green Warehouse works with two different missions in mind: to help the environment by providing upcycled and reusable building materials and appliances for home improvement projects, while raising funds to aid veterans in making a positive impact in their own communities.

"To explain it quickly and easily to customers, I say, we're like a Lowe's or a Home Depot, plus furniture -- but we're a nonprofit that helps veterans," says store manager Coleman Imhoff. "It's new and used stuff, from furniture to appliances to tile, lumber, electrical hardware, plumbing, tools, things like that. We accept donations and provide a pick-up service for those donations as well."

See also: Photos: Homeless female veterans focus of housing project at old Su Teatro site

Officially opening under the name Go Green Warehouse in March, the organization moved to a new and improved location last weekend.

Imhoff says the move was imperative to Go Green Warehouse's longterm success. Basic retail necessities like air-conditioning and a more visible store location were part of the incentive to move, along with more showroom space.

"Our old building was really great, but it was kind of tucked away. Moving was an improvement to our business, but it was also a chance to really talk again about these issues of military veterans and unemployment and start to network with other entrepreneurs who want to start their own non-profits," says Imhoff. "We were able to increase our role in reuse and recycle and get the community involved in the process. It was an important step for us as a business to make the move, and we really solidified a great location for us to make that higher exposure."

Working through its parent non-profit, the Veterans Entrepreneurial Trust (VET), Go Green Warehouse's fundraising side is in itself a nonprofit supporter.

"The mission of VET is to help military veterans who are entrepreneurs start their own non-profits with a revolving, low interest loan program and mentorship program," says Imhoff. "It involves getting the 501 C3 -- which is quite a process -- as well as working on the marketing business plan and things like that. It's basically a network of veteran entrepreneurs that make a positive impact on the world."

That positive impact starts with donors -- who supply much of the store's inventory. Home improvement folks who shop at Go Green Warehouse will find a clean, organized and well-stocked selection of functional building materials, home appliances, gently used furniture, lawn care items and other seasonal tools for everything from gardening to snow removal.

And while the warehouse cannot accept microwaves, air conditioners and refrigerators, they can be brought to the store for recycling -- which also raises money for veterans programs.

Imhoff doesn't want to emphasize what Go Green Warehouse can't take in, because so much of it can be recycled and put out on the sales floor. The warehouse currently accepts: furniture, tools, tile, flooring materials, electrical and plumbing hardware, seasonal items like like flowerpots, gardening tools and wheel barrows along with trim, lumber, baseboards, HVAC items like register vents, air-conditioners, fireplaces, tubs, sinks, faucets, cabinets, cabinet sets and painting supplies (paint itself cannot be accepted, due to disposal regulations.)

"The point is to try to take in everything that we can, so we can reuse as much as we can," says Imoff. "And that's the point that we're trying to get across -- these things don't belong in a landfill. They can be reused and go toward a good cause."

The Go Green Warehouse is located at 1000 South Wadsworth in Lakewood, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information on the store, its parent non-profit and donation and pick-up information, visit the warehouse's website and Facebook.

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