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In today’s Houston Chronicle “Ultimate Houston” section, New Living was picked as the place to go for green goods.  As this is exactly our mission, we are thrilled by the coverage!  The snippet also discussed our expansion plans–and, yes, we’ve begun.  The last of Wagner Hardware’s inventory is being removed, and we will begin to remodel the space next week.  We will be open throughout the renovation process, so come check out all of our green goods!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the newest member of the New Living team.  I recently quit my consulting job in Boston, packed up my car, and drove 2,000 miles to help with this green and mighty endeavor.  It was a homecoming of sorts.  I was born in Houston, but spent the last 25 years watching the Red Sox and shoveling snow in Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts.  If you would have told me that I’d return to Houston, to build a company grounded in living a healthy, eco-friendly life nonetheless, I wouldn’t have believed you.  For that matter, my Boston friends didn’t believe me when I told them I was leaving–Work in a green store? “Sure.”  A green store in Houston? “Impossible.”

What did seem impossible, however, was my first day at the store.  Jeff and I opened New Living (and Wagner Hardware, the community hardware store whose space we are slowly taking over) yesterday morning, two days after Hurricane Ike left us in its rear-view mirror.  A projectile had left the front door shattered and unhinged.  Glass was scattered across the entranceway and stuck to damaged merchandise and water-logged bags of American Clay.  I didn’t know what to do first.  Should I clean the store?  Should I learn the store? How do I turn on the cash register? (Fortunately we had power, save the credit card machine).  As customers began to stroll in, my insecurities surrounding never having stepped foot in New Living subsided.  People needed help.  They lined up to use our restroom.  They scoured the store for duct tape and rope and rakes and nails.  They cleaned out our batteries in minutes.  We let those without cash take the much needed flash light and told them to come back when they could pay.  I heard one man offer up his generator to the woman standing beside him, as his power had already returned.  “How’s your roof holding up?”  “Some holes and water got in, but everyone’s okay.”  I must have heard these questions and answers a hundred times.  People’s homes and cars are damaged.  Tree trunks and limbs, not to mention the flooding, have turned meandering Houston’s streets into a video game.  The night of Hurricane Ike was probably the scariest night of my life, and the aftermath is both sad and confusing.  It is not very often we are reminded of how small and powerless we are.

What I really want to say in this post is that Ike’s aftermath–and specifically my first day at New Living–showed me how incredible the people of Houston truly are.  Many boast that they moved to Houston for a job and stayed for the people, and I now see why.  This city has come together like nothing else I’ve ever seen.  The sharing of food, air mattresses, and homes has been fluid. Rather than a state of chaos, people are methodically going through their days, focusing on what’s important and helping their neighbors. Standing behind New Living’s cash register, I was greeted with many more smiles than I anticipated–even if I couldn’t point you to where the tarps were.

It may have been an unsettling homecoming.  But it’s good to be here.

Green Drinks Presented by Beaver’s and New Living
Join us at Beaver’s Icehouse every Wednesday from 5-10 pm all summer long for $4 appetizers, $3.50 beer and $5 cocktails.

This week, Keep the Energy Flowing! Support local start-ups and small business ventures with Caroline Collective, Houston’s newest entrepreneurial location. This Wednesday 25% of all drink and appetizer specials will go towards keeping the lights and energy flowing at Caroline. Snack on refreshing bites and bevs while supporting local community initiatives!

Beaver’s Icehouse | 2310 Decatur Street (77007) | 713.864. BEAV (2328) |

New Living is proud to announce that it will be partnering up with and providing numerous green building materials and supplies to the Caroline Collective.

The Caroline Collective is taking a concept known as coworking to a new level. Coworking is a cafe-like community/collaboration space for the creative class. Individuals will be able to rent desk space by the month or just pop in and utilize the abundant resources. There will also be dedicated office space for lease and several tenants have committed.

Caroline Collective was born out of the entreprenural minds of Matthew Wettergreen, Ned Doddington and the right side of Monica Danna’s brain, along with Adam Brackman of Wulfe Urban. New Living and Caroline Collective share a kindred spirit for taking an active role to change Houston.

The Gulf Coast Green expo takes place this Friday through Sunday. There will be 15,000 people at the show and New Living will have a large booth. Our booth number is 129.

We are taking a huge leap at this show. New Living will have the largest booth and we should create some real energy here. Many of our major vendors are flying in to be with us. Stop by and spec with us!

Ice Stone will be joining us at our booth, along with Kirei, Yolo Colorhouse, AFM Safecoat, and American Clay.
Ice Stone makes counter-tops using recycled glass and concrete.

ice stone samples

Gulf Coast Green 2008 Symposium and Expo is the leading green building conference along the Gulf Coast region.
In 2006 Gulf Coast Green attracted 600 attendees; 42 speakers from 11 states, 14 cities and 2 countries, 5 Universities participating in a student competition; 2 keynote speakers; and an address by Mayor Bill White of Houston.

This year, a two-day symposium on building targeted to design and construction professionals on Thursday, April 3 and Friday, April 4, 2008 will precede a two-day consumer Expo on Saturday, April 5 and Sunday, April 6, 2008, inaugurating Texas’s first green building consumer expo featuring certified green building products & materials.

The Consumer Expo is free and open to the public.

The theme of the 2008 conference is “Innovations in Building for Hot and Humid Climates.” The specific focus of the conference is green or sustainable building along the Gulf Coast region, but the content includes broader issues of sustainability such as sustainable land use and global warming.

Gulf Coast Green 2008 is hosted by the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE) in partnership with the Greater Houston Area Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Houston Chapter of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Houston District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

We are looking forward to seeing you at Gulf Coast Green 2008!

New Living, the Green Building + Home Store wants to make the green movement accessible. We hope to inspire our community to make responsible, healthy, eco-friendly decisions when choosing their essential products. Our products help create cleaner homes, healthier neighborhoods and a better environment.

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