Toilet seat cover by Burton?
Perhaps you’ve run into a toilet seat cover that makes you stop and contemplate, “Gee, where have I seen that before?”
Or maybe the mere sight of a certain ceiling fan triggers an unexpected urge to strap on the boards, fly over a jump and attempt a heli.
Those reactions are brought to you by Reeski Inc. The Aspen-area company has been making a growing line of products from recycled skis and snowboards since 1993.
It started with the popular Adirondack-style chairs made from four pairs of skis. Benches made from one snowboard for the seat and another for the back quickly became another company staple.
Now there are bar stools, tables, clocks, fans with snowboard blades and, yes, even toilet seat covers using part of a snowboard. The products are displayed on the company Web site at http://www.reeski.com.
Reeski survived its infancy thanks to the tenacity and determination of its founder and owner, Jeff “Theo” Theobald. He’s proven the unusual business products are more than just a passing fancy.
“This will be the first year in my adult life I’ve ever been out of debt,” said the 32-year-old Theobald. “I can’t say it’s been smooth. There have been times where friends have saved me with a short-term loan.”
But survive it has, and the world’s a better place for it. Theobald is a dedicated environmentalist who got the idea for the company from witnessing all the waste in a ski town.
Theobald noticed seven years ago that there were an awful lot of skis being discarded early and late during ski seasons. What a waste. About the same time, the owner of a place where he was caretaking complained about his wooden Adirondack chairs rotting so quickly.
That’s when Theobald got the idea of making the chairs out of skis unceremoniously stuffed into Aspen’s dumpsters.
“The idea was to make outside furniture that actually lasts outside,” he said.
As demand for his products grew, so did his demand for junk skis and snowboards. He started with local ski shops, then with ski and snowboard manufacturers. Their trash was his treasure.
By Theobald’s count, Reeski has prevented about 20 tons of skis and boards from getting tossed into landfills.
Then there are the intangible benefits. A physics-proficient friend of Theobald’s figured that using a recycled snowboard for something like a bench rather than an equal amount of wood adds up to 159.28 kilowatt hours of energy saved; 10.86 gallons of oil saved; 108.6 gallons of water saved; 0.9 cubic feet of air pollution prevented; and 0.05 cubic yards of landfill not used.
The recycling was the focus of the business, not just byproduct, said Theobald.
“I have trouble throwing things away,” he said. “My friends call me Sanford, from `Sanford and Son.’ “
Now, he’s hoping to boost the business to even greater heights. Until now, Theobald has marketed his products to mom-and-pop-type shops and businesses.
He’s now trying to entice ski resort operators to place large orders. For example, he’s pitching the idea of the Reeski Lounge, an aprs-ski bar where all tables, chairs, stools and other decor are made out of recycled skis and snowboards.
But, never fear, Reeski will always remain a local-oriented business. People with old skis collecting dust in the garage can always call Theobald to have them fashioned into an Adirondack chair. It happens with surprising regularity, he said.
People who supply their own skis or boards for products get a discount.
Reeski can be contacted locally at 704-0866 or toll free at 1-800-826-5447.
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