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Houston Family Magazinereprinted from Houston Family Magazine, written by Amy Barnett

Jeff Kaplan is a man driven by his passions. That’s why the native Houstonian quit his job two years ago as a commercial retail real estate broker to start his own business. It’s called New Living and Kaplan and a small group of employees are determined to make sure the company lives up to its name. The goal is to inspire customers to start a new way of life by making responsible, healthy, eco-friendly decisions when selecting everyday essentials.  In other words, Kaplan wants New Living to be the general store for Houstonians who are seeking a greener way of life.

Kaplan felt an authentic neighborhood hardware store would be the best place to see the birth of New Living.  In November of 2007, that idea took him to Houston’s legendary Wagner Hardware on Kirby Drive.  The owner, Nancy Wagner Abernathy, who was planning to soon close the family business, allowed New Living to start selling its eco-friendly paints and household cleaners on one aisle.  A year later, New Living took over the entire store.

Jeff Kaplan - New Living Green Building and Home Store“We’re trying to make green living accessible,” says Jennifer Touchet, co-owner of New Living, “and you don’t have to compromise style, we cater to design as well.”   Inside the New Living showroom, builders can find countertops made from 100% recycled glass and concrete, and environmentally sound wood and Bamboo flooring.  And for folks like you and me, who want to create a safer environment in the homes we already have, there are soybean candles, organic cotton blankets and mattresses, and of course, non-toxic household cleaners.  And the labels on those cleaners proudly state, Made by Houstonians. “We wanted to do something to maximize local labor,” says Kaplan, “Part of the green movement is using local resources.” Read more


Join us for the Emerging Green Builders (of the US Green Building Council) May educational event Wednesday, May 20th from 6-8pm at the store. Stephanie Edwards-Musa will be speaking at the event. Stephanie is a realtor and certified eco-broker who also runs a blog at Stephanie will be speaking about current trends in green building and discussing everyday things you can do around the house to make your house more energy efficient. Stephanie is a great resource to learn how and where to buy, sell or remodel a green home in Houston.

The event is open to the public and complimentary drinks and appetizers will be served.

Beavers community planting

Join us for a community planting at Beavers Saturday May 23rd from noon to 6pm. 2310 Decatur, 77007 713-864-2328

Bring a plant for Beaver herb garden and come back to watch it grow and become part of the menu! Free drink and buffet for everyone who brings a plant. Plant suggestions: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Flat Leaf and Regular Parsley, Lemongrass, Mint, Marigolds, Orka, Radishes, Cucumbers, Eggplant, any kind of peppers, Tarragon, Rue, Chives, Basil

Grab a cup of coffee and get your day started with the best intentions!

All green enthusiasts are invited to attend this FREE fantastic Business-to-Green Summer Sunrise Networking Series, starting with our June event.  Green businesses, hybrid green companies, and professionals looking to connect to the green business community—this is the place to be. Real-time collaboration and pay-it-forward networking are top on the agenda all in a cool atmosphere – New Living’s new diggs.

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Please join us this Saturday, April 25th at Blackwood Educational Land Institute to learn more about “The Environmental and Social Impact of Consumption”. Located just 45 minutes from Houston, Blackwood is a living learning environment that inspires and teaches students of all ages to explore the natural web of life and to develop a healthy, respectful relationship with nature. Read more

If there’s one event you should make an effort to get out and see this year, it’s Gulf Coast Green. The event showcases Green building practices and vendors in Houston and from the entire Gulf Coast. This will be our second year at the show and we plan for it to be even bigger and better than last year. This year, we will be sharing our booth with Green Bank, Waste Management’s Green Squad, and Naturalcare Cleaning Company.  We will be showcasing many of our products including a new budget-friendly line of high quality no-voc paint and one of our lines of organic mattresses for you to test out. We will also have samples of our Icestone recycled glass countertops, and eco-flooring such as cork and bamboo. The event is at Reliant Park April 18th and 19th. 
Gulf Coast Green 2009 SYMPOSIUM is the leading green building conference targeted to design and construction professionals within the Gulf Coast region, organized by the AIA Houston Committee on the Environment. This year’s symposium explores sustainable principles and practices at a community scale, including Keynote Speakers Alex Steffen, Steve Mouzon, and Doug Farr.

Following the GCG Symposium is the 2-day HOUSTON GREEN EXPO, free and open to the public on April 18 and 19 at Reliant Park. A collaboration of AIA Houston COTE and the City of Houston, it is the largest green product expo in the city, offering the latest in green companies and their products for living a green life. The Expo will also offer educational presentations targeted to homeowners and interactive programs for children and young adults. The Houston Green Expo is free and open to the public, and requires no advance registration.

earthdayhoustonWe are proud to be a part of Houston’s first official Earth Day celebration at Discovery Green this Saturday, April 11, from 9am to 6pm. The festivities kick off with the Mothers for Clean Air Earth Day 5K at 8 a.m. followed by a day-long celebration with family entertainment, environmental education, and much more. Come visit our booth to learn about and play with the newest green building and home supplies:  no voc paint, IceStone recycled glass countertops, organic sheets, and non-toxic cleaning supplies.

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Kaplan House

On March 28th and 29th, the Rice Design Alliance is having their annual home tour. The theme this year is small homes, and you can tour David Kaplan’s “Shot-Trot” house designed by Brett Zamore. This house was a big inspiration for starting New Living and features a Kirei bamboo countertop from our store.

The Rice Design Alliance has held architecture tours every year since 1975 to acquaint Houstonians with the best examples of architecture, interior design, and landscape design in the city.

At a recent RDA Civic Forum, Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg stated that “Our children will not have bigger houses, or faster cars, but they will live richer lives.” Read more

Please join the Houston Interactive Marketing Association on April 1, 2009 at Maggiano’s in the galleria from 11:15am to 1:15pm for their monthly luncheon. New Living’s own Jeff Kaplan will be speaking along with two of New Living’s green coworkers, Mary Frances Blatchley and Jessica Zapatero.

Green Talk
Getting Skeptics to Buy Using Interactive Marketing Tactics

A growing population of environmentally conscious consumers is emerging from the convergence of environmental concern, energy prices and limitless information. These customers are demanding “real green” products from “real green” companies and are skeptical about most companies’ claim on green. The outcome is a longer selling cycle and a reduction in customer loyalty. Join guest panel speakers from Houston’s leading green businesses: New Living, Green Lily Events and forGreen Marketing & Design. They will address key issues at the forefront of the challenging green marketplace and share how they overcome obstacles using interactive marketing strategies. Read more

n a world where green is marketing’s new goldmine, it’s important to keep an eye on the ball. Store shelves everywhere are awash with household products that claim to be environmentally friendly, but it takes a keen eye to separate the real deal from the fray.

“Make sure the products you are putting in your home are not ‘green washed’,” says Jeff Kaplan, owner of retail store New Living. “It’s important to ask questions when buying materials to find out how a product is actually made, what’s in it, what kind of labor standards are used and how it is transported. That is what we are trying to do with New Living.”

The store, located in historic Wagner’s Hardware, sells everything you might need for an earth friendly home. New Living’s Green concept is a first on Houston’s home improvement retail scene, usually dominated by big box stores. And the timing could not be more impeccable. “Houston is one of the leading cities today for building green commercial buildings. WE ARE JUST STARTING TO SEE A STRONG INTEREST IN GREEN HOMES AND GREEN HOME REMODELING,” say Kaplan, also a commercial real estate broker. About half of New Living’s business comes from working with architects, designers, builders and painters.

In the past, using earth-friendly products and materials often meant lower performance. But that is changing quickly. “The technology behind green products has gotten so good that there really are not any trade-offs today.”

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