Rainwater harvesting systems and sustainably sourced, reclaimed furniture might seem like an unusual product mix for a business, but it’s the portfolio of Rain Brothers and its offshoot, Reckon Reclaimed.
Gordy Smith and Jonathan Meier founded Rain Brothers in June of 2007 specializing in rainwater harvesting systems. Along the way, they added excavation and construction to the list of services.
It started with the demolition of 13 blighted homes in Franklinton.
“Doing that, we realized just how much good material was being taken directly to the landfill,” Smith says.
With a desire to operate socially and environmentally responsible businesses, Smith and Meier decided to salvage as much as they could from the blighted homes. But, they needed to find an end-use for it.
Reckon Reclaimed specializes in taking that salvaged, old-growth lumber and turning it into one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.
“Every scrap of wood that we’ve used and any pieces that we’ve built is from lumber that we’ve reclaimed from houses that are about to be demolished,” Smith says.
At the hands of carpenter Joshua Calderone, Reckon Reclaimed crafted their first big project in June of 2013 – La Tavola restaurant in Grandview.
“We ended up doing pretty much their whole restaurant for them.” Smith says. From the large farm tables, to booths and the bar, much of the interior of the eatery is wood reclaimed from houses in Ohio.
“Everything since then has been pretty much custom work,” Smith says. “We also will sell wood wholesale.”
The old-growth wood that was typical of the homes built in the 1920s that are now being deconstructed produces grain patterns that aren’t often seen seen in newly harvested lumber, making for some amazing and unique pieces of furniture. Reckon Reclaimed uses it to handcraft their lines of coffee tables, end tables, butcher blocks and other custom-builds.
Reckon Reclaimed has been able to take the socially responsible aspect of their business even further through local partnerships. Columbus-based blacksmith Ben Beckett hand forges pieces for some of the company’s furniture. Social enterprise CleanTurn International has also been hired to handle the deconstruction.
As Reckon Reclaimed grows, they are facing the same issues any business owner normally sees.
“When you start something new there’s just a lot of trial and error,” Smith says. It’s the same thing they faced when starting Rain Brothers.
“We’ve struggled with trying to figure out how to market,” he adds. Despite the challenge of figuring out how to market, Smith says the reception has been great.
The reclaimed, rustic look seems to be a growing trend in the decor industry and one that Reckon Reclaimed has noticed, especially in Columbus.
“One, I think it just really looks really great, but I think people also like it because it’s sustainably responsible,” Smith says. “We feel really lucky and grateful to be in a community that is receptive to the things that we really want to do and like to do.”
For more information, visit reckonreclaimed.com.