Visiting interesting places to salvage cool things, then squeezing them into the store — it's all in a day's work.

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Joel Blaschke

What do you do? I’m the salvage manager/co-owner of Ballard Reuse. We are an architectural salvage and used building material store in Ballard.

How did you get started in that field? I had been doing sales and was laid off. After a discouraging job search, a former housemate of mine, who worked for a local salvage company, asked if I wanted a job. I gave it a try and discovered I really enjoyed it. It feels good to keep so much out of the landfill, and we get some incredibly interesting things.

What’s a typical day like? I start off by discussing the day’s projects with Kim, our field manager. Then, I work my way through the mountain of emails and phone messages about potential materials. I try to accommodate the schedules of all the homeowners, contractors, businesses and school districts we work with while controlling the flow of materials into our always-full, 12,000 square foot retail store.

What’s the best part of the job? Every day is different. I meet people and visit interesting places to salvage cool things. We’ve worked in every type of place you can imagine, including hospitals, churches, college campuses, breweries, morgues, airports, museums, Safeco Field, theaters, restaurants and amazing historic homes. My job takes me to a number of places the public doesn’t usually see. There are also many people I’ve met whom I consider friends and regular customers that make us part of their routine.

What surprises people about what you do?
Either the sheer volume of materials we deal with or the fact that people get rid of some incredibly neat stuff.

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