In a decade we’ve grown from a tiny storefront to become a national distributor of green building supplies and household products. Along the way, we’ve solved problems for thousands of customers—parents looking for low-toxic paint for the nursery, builders looking for sustainable lumber, even a ship builder looking for durable flooring for a submarine.
Most building materials suppliers have a fairly straightforward way of deciding whether to stock a particular item. They ask a series of questions: How much does it cost? How well does it work? Does it suit current style trends? And will the store get good treatment from its suppliers? Price, performance, aesthetics and service together determine whether a product has value in the marketplace—and whether it deserves a spot on the store’s shelves.
We consider the same factors. But because we have a broader way of looking at the world, we go further. In addition to competing on the basis of price, performance and aesthetics, our products must offer additional tangible benefits: They protect health, use energy and other resources sparingly, and are extraordinarily well made.
Our definition of quality requires us to look at what happens over the entire life of a product. How is it made and by whom? Will it give joy and service for years? Can it be repaired or will it need to be replaced if something breaks? What will happen to it when it is no longer needed? By asking these questions and then discussing with our customers their goals and budgets, we can quickly help find the best products for each situation.
For instance, when customers ask for a low-toxic floor finish that stands up to kids and dogs, we steer them toward our OSMO Polyx® Oil. Based primarily on natural plant oils, resins and waxes, it is as durable as plastic coatings but performs better over the long haul in busy households. When polyurethane or acrylic finishes are worn or scratched, the entire floor must be thoroughly sanded and recoated. But when Hardwax Oil becomes damaged, spot-repair is easy. The result is both a better value and a healthier home for the family. It’s the kind of creative alternative we work hard to provide.
When answers to our questions don’t satisfy us, we don’t stock products. We dropped several coatings when the manufacturer switched the formulas to include dangerous solvents. And although we carry finely crafted hardwood flooring from managed forests in Europe, we do not carry tropical wood flooring from the same manufacturer because we aren’t sure how that lumber is harvested.
Evaluating building materials is a complex process. There are always tradeoffs. Sometimes what seems to be an improvement later turns out to be a problem itself. We’re always learning, and our selection keeps getting better. Our guiding vision keeps us on course: We believe that healthy ecosystems sustain healthy economies. This is as fundamental to our business as the belief that we must charge a fair price so we can pay our power bills and keep our doors open.
We haven’t found the perfect solutions, and we certainly don’t expect our customers to change the world single-handedly. But together, we know we can build a better world.
4121 1st Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134 USA
Monday through Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.*
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.*
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.*
Sales facsimile: 1-206-682-8275
*The Paint Center and Warehouse close 30 minutes prior to store closure.
Our Seattle showroom and corporate offices are located on 1st Avenue S., just south of Spokane Street, right before the railroad bridge. See directions below.
Tags: EcoHaus Inc.