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Shop Demo Depot place to find, donate hard-to-recycle items in Mt. Pleasant

| Friday, March 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Frequent shopper Sam Greco of Scottdale gets checked out by employee Beth Dillon.
Tay Waltenbaugh, chief executive officer of Westmoreland Community Action, shows off the newly constructed trailhead that links the Coke and Coal Trail to Main Street.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Deconstruction manager Kim Giles displays some artwork in the store that was made with recycled items.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Westmoreland Community Action Director of Community Services Jack Brown stacks electronic items that were recycled.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Store manager Rene Mulroy keeps track of the display of Amazon Select, a line of recycled paint.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
A Greensburg Construction employee works on additional retail space that will soon be open to the public.

A new business opening in a town is always exciting, but when that business is unique and community-minded, that makes the endeavor even more thrilling.

Breathing new life into the closed Cook's Lumber building in Mt. Pleasant, Shop Demo Depot opened its doors in April and introduced the area to its unique concept of purchasing, donating and recycling.

Shop Demo Depot is a nonprofit, retail outlet that accepts tax-deductible donations of surplus and reusable building supplies from businesses and manufacturers for resale to the public.

“We have received a lot of support from the very beginning,” said Tay Waltenbaugh, chief executive officer of Westmoreland Community Action, a Greensburg-based, private nonprofit organization that helped develop Shop Demo Depot to generate profits that help finance WCA human services programs.

“We are here for the community and to give back to the community,” Waltenbaugh said.

Lots of offerings

The store offers building materials, hardware, landscape materials, appliances, furniture, windows, doors, flooring, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures and lighting, and has a great selection of new and used materials.

“We were thrilled that they chose Mt. Pleasant to open their new site,” Mt. Pleasant Mayor Gerald Lucia said. “They have become a great asset to the community.”

Shop Demo Depot is one of the few locations in the area where shoppers can get hard-to-find replacement items, older hardware and woodwork — even slightly used furniture and fixtures that are in great condition.

“We are starting to see a lot of landlords,” deconstruction manager Kim Giles said. “They need items for their units or houses and they know now that they can find things here that are in great shape, that are priced a lot more reasonably.”

The store now offers Amazon Select recycled paint, which is made from latex paints that have been recycled and reblended.

“People are starting to find out about the paint, and it's becoming more popular,” employee Rene Mulroy said. “It offers great coverage, great color, at a great price.”

The shop is one of the only locations in the area that accepts electronic items for recycling.

Mission: ‘To end poverty'

Items such as televisions and computers can no longer be set out for regular trash pickup, but they can be taken to Shop Demo Depot.

“We realized that someone would have to do it and we thought that maybe we could make a little money out of it,” Waltenbaugh said.

Shop Demo Depot is part of eLoop, a certified recycling facility.

Any money that Shop Demo Depot makes from the recycling and from a portion of the store sales goes back into the community to fund several projects that fall under the umbrella of the Westmoreland Community Action group.

“Our mission is to end poverty in Westmoreland County,” Waltenbaugh said of the group. “We fund 23 different programs and our goal is to help to make families become more self-sufficient.”

Building transforming

The building is one of the older establishments in the eastern part of the borough. Waltenbaugh said they are continually finding new features.

“This is a great building,” Waltenbaugh said. “We have a lot of things planned and when we are finished, you won't be able to recognize the inside or the outside. It's going to look a lot different.”

In addition to the main shop area, a large room off the back of the showroom is being remodeled and will provide additional space.

“This was just storage and when we are done, it will be used as additional retail space,” said Jack Brown, Westmoreland Community Action director of community services. “We are going to build a walkway off the back that will lead to the room.”

Brown said additional retail space is planned for other buildings on the site.

“We have a lot of furniture that is stored that we would like to put out, but right now we don't have the space,” Brown said.

In addition to homeowners, contractors, landlords and those who like to recycle their goods, the shop brings in many customers seeking unique house decor or furniture that can be remodeled.

“We see a lot of people who come in to look for items that they then transform into something completely different,” Mulroy said. “It's really interesting to hear them describe what they plan to do with what they buy. Some of them have some really great ideas.”

Property abuts trail

Waltenbaugh was pleased to grant the borough the go-ahead to complete the Coal and Coke Trail that previously ended at the back of the property, which is adjacent to Willows Park.

The trail now runs from the old entrance at the park through the Shop Demo Depot site to its parking lot, where an official trailhead and parking area was established.

“This is one that we really didn't even have to think about,” Waltenbaugh said. “We were happy to be able to do this for the community, and we are really pleased to see so many people using it now.”

Volunteers needed

Shop Demo Depot is looking for good, reliable volunteers to help in many areas of the facility.

“We give our volunteers a discount to shop here, so that is always a nice plus,” Waltenbaugh said.

Offering new and used furniture, outdoor items, appliances, building materials and recycling, Shop Demo Depot is a one-of-a-kind facility that not only helps those looking to build and recycle, but puts their proceeds toward programs to aid everyone in the community.

“We still want to educate the community on who we are and what we are all about,” Waltenbaugh said. “This is a great, great area and we are proud to be a part of this community. Our plans now are to continue to grow and as we grow, continue to help the families and people of Westmoreland County.”

Shop hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Items can be purchased or dropped off at that time.

For information, call 724-552-0491, visit or search for Shop Demo Depot on Facebook.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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