Submitted by ReUse Works
With an abundance of both sadness and pride, nonprofit organization ReUse Works announces the closure of Bellingham-based business Appliance Depot.
Appliance Depot began in 2005 with the goal of becoming a self-sustaining job training business that salvages, refurbishes, and sells used appliances. Our unique business model includes partnerships with social service agencies to provide job training for low income residents who help run the business and learn valuable, transferable job skills.
Over the past 15 years, well over 40,000 unwanted appliances have been diverted from the waste stream, several thousand tons of scrap metal have been recycled, thousands of refurbished appliances have been sold, and more than 400 low income residents have received work experience and training.
Despite the hard work and innovative problem solving of Appliance Depot management and employees, Appliance Depot has seen a decrease in appliance sales over the past two years as well as an extreme, prolonged drop in scrap metal pricing which is critical to the program’s bottom line.
These factors paired with the prolonged temporary closure of the business due to Covid-19 has proven to be too challenging of a hardship for the business to overcome.
“The work of Appliance Depot has been a labor of love and community service. The loss of the program for our community is heartbreaking for both staff and board members. We are proud of our accomplishments and thankful for the support we’ve received from customers, local agencies, funders, and the greater Whatcom County community.” Jeff Giesen, ReUse Works Board President
In the coming weeks we will work to liquidate and recycle remaining appliances and existing assets as well as support former employees making sure they have the resources they need to cope with the closure. Community members can find future liquidation sale dates and times on Appliance Depot’s Facebook page.
About ReUse Works
ReUse Works was founded on the simple premise that there is economic opportunity in both the products and the people that our society has discarded. With this in mind, a group of low income Whatcom County residents and social service advocates formed ReUse Works in 2004. It’s corporate mission is to “provide job training, jobs, and business opportunities for low income residents using waste and discarded materials.” In 2005, we opened Appliance Depot, a job training and reuse business that salvages, repairs, and sells used appliances. In 2014, we opened Ragfinery, a job training and reuse business that upcycles post-consumer clothing and textiles.