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Home improvement – when the one green aisle isn’t enough, TreeHouse is the answer

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TreeHouse offers 26,000 sf of green products

As environmental awareness becomes mainstream and less of a trend belonging to the elitists on the coasts, consumers are struggling to find home products that are considered green. Go into any big box home improvement store and find the green section, it’s typically an afterthought and placed awkwardly. Not at TreeHouse in Austin which is 26,000 square feet devoted to products that are not only environmentally friendly but healthier and less toxic.

Services like installation are available and the company seeks to educate people on the merits of the products, of which they have reviewed every single one for performance, sustainability, health and the corporate responsibility of the manufacturer and maintain expertise on green products rather than forcing an aisle into a lumber-filled, flourescent big box. TreeHouse says, “We want to make sure the products that we sell are things we want in our own homes.”

“We built our company based on the idea that people, communities, nature, excellence and dreams all matter. And that we should all do everything within our power to care for and nurture each of them,” the company says.

An unbiased review

Pros and cons of TreeHouse, according to a thoughtful Yelp reviewer:

“The short review:

Being responsible can be FUN! Buying green products for your house and yard can be EASY! Shopping at one place for a multitude of home supplies, fixtures, materials can be CONVENIENT!

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The unabridged version:

I am a fan and here is why…
1. Time saver: Warehouse of “green” products for house and yard that have been handpicked by a merchandising team with a green eye for good design.

2. Philosophy: Warm Fuzzy quotient. These guys are banking on the fact that you value Health, Sustainability, Performance, and Corporate Responsibility – not just Price. To me, this means better, longer lasting choices that we all can live with but it also implies a possible increase in cost. Perhaps on the high end, but if it is better in ways that I value, I will vote with my wallet.

3. Product: I have visited all of the other “green/eco friendly” building supply stores in Austin and this approach seems very desirable. I LOVE Mythic paint, they have it. I love this new, ridiculous Plumen light, they have it. I have been looking for industrial exterior light fixtures for my house, they have them… for $29!!

4. Price: In general, prices seem competitive as Whole Foods Market would compare to another grocery store, but in the hardware/building supplies category. They do not seem as high as the other “green building supply” places though, so it is a lesser of the evils kind of thing.

5. Education and information: While walking through the store last night, I saw several displays that I would like to learn more about, and that excites me. I saw some new building products that excite me. Their website is easy to use and includes a concise summary of building products and installation.

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I am reserving a star and here is why…
1. I do not always want to shop at Whole Foods. I had a 2 hour LIVE exploration of faucets, tile, counter tops, lighting, kitchen supplies and prices seemed reasonable. If it proves to be a shortcut in my time, even with a small increase in cost, I will be ALL over this store and i will encourage my clients to shop here.

2. Have yet to experience service on a store wide basis. The “ra ra green halo of self righteous retail” may drive me crazy. It has definitely driven me away from a couple of the other green philosophy retail places. I digress… What I have seen here with attentive employees and Founders is all positive.

I would like to see online shopping: specific product lines featured and maybe even the option to “shop online” even if it means that it is ready for me to pick up the next day at the store.”

Photo tour of all things TreeHouse:

More photos on the next page:

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.


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