I started Green Demolitions because I wanted to “give back” after my life was given back to me. Here’s my story – I am a recovered addict whose life was saved 26 years ago through an addiction recovery program. I was a teenage drug and alcohol abuser raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, and suffered two bouts of serious suicidal depression before I got my recovery.
I was in the radio business for 18 years, winding up as the Senior Marketing Manager for two Clear Channel Providence, RI radio stations (WWRX-FM and B101). My recovery happened in the middle of my radio career – five years later WWRX-FM became America’s first independent “Imus in the Morning” syndicated station. My radio sales flourished and I earned enough money in the next four years to start giving back.
I left radio in 1998 to pursue fund-raising for the outreach projects that saved my life. In my first year I had meetings with foundations and philanthropists in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, San Antonio, West Palm Beach, Golden, CO, etc., etc. The results – travel expenses $20,000 – funds raised $7,500.
Luckily, I read about a guy in Forbes magazine – Mr. Brewster Kopp of Greenwich, CT, whom was formerly the CFO for Digital Corp., First Bank Boston, etc., and the article was entitled “The Workaholic”. This article stated that Mr. Kopp was now dedicating 90% of his time to helping non-profits. I cold-called him, got an appointment, and he liked our programs. In 1999, I was introduced to one of his foundations and started raising funds for the next two years. Unfortunately, the stock market crashed in 2001 – so the donations were going to be slim.
Shortly after the crash, I saw a “Demolition in Progress” sign at the former residence of Farah Pahlavi, the Last Empress of Iran, who lived in a 10,000 square foot Rockefeller Mansion. The gates were open, so I drove up. The house was gone . . . so I had an idea . . . why not start a demolition donation program and earn the money rather than ask for it? The idea turned into a pilot project resulting in a Greenwich Time feature article in the October 2001 real estate section. 36 people responded. Over the next four years the program grew through word-of-mouth from high-end architects (Alex Kaali-Nagy), mansion builders (Scott Hobbs), and kitchen designers (Kitchens by Deane and Bilotta Kitchens).
In 2005, I decided to start Green Demolitions with a little “seed money”. It was just myself and a part-time administrator. In nine years we have become America’s leading recycler of luxury pre-owned kitchens and showroom displays. Our benchmarks include: 1) creating $13 million in jobs, 2) earning $2 million for outreach projects, 3) selling 4,000 kitchens, and 4) diverting over 22 million+ pounds from the landfills.
We are so excited to continue this movement in luxury recycling and repurposing. Hope you join us on the journey!
Keep it Green,
Steve Feldman, President and Founder