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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2004


Unique shop caters to builders, fix-it-uppers

Building Materials Thrift Store aids land trust

Express Staff Writer

It’s true, as Bruce Tidwell discovers every workday: One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

The junk-turned-treasure in Tidwell’s world has meant a steady source of income for the Wood River Land Trust to help preserve land as open space while still in private hands.

Tidwell is founder of the Building Materials Thrift Store, a do-it-yourselfer’s paradise of surplus and unneeded materials donated for resale at the store, located at 3990 Woodside Blvd., on the south end of Hailey across from Power Engineers.

After deducting operating expenses for his staff of four, his three trucks and his own salary, Tidwell has turned over $240,000 to the Land Trust in the past three and a half years. Founded in 1994, the trust has a basic goal—"to keep land in private hands and to promote the continuation of historic uses such as farming, ranching and recreation while ensuring a legacy of open space for future generations," according to its mission statement.

A former building contractor, Tidwell, 43, thus far estimates he’s collected 6 million pounds of unwanted and used building materials for resale—an average of 3,000 to 4,000 pounds per workday.

What Tidwell’s 4,000 square-foot store lacks in tidiness is made up in variety of salable items—nails and screws, plumbing, doors, old appliances, furniture, carpet, pipes, and 2,000 music CDs.

Oddball items have shown up, too—two airplane wings, a Tibetan doorframe, a gyro fitness apparatus, to name a few.

But the biggest items now being collected and sold are houses—full-sized houses donated by owners for tax deductions, then moved by new owners to sites elsewhere in the Wood River Valley.

So far, 42 houses, most of them small and under 1,000 square feet, have been donated.

The most recent house donation is a two-story, 3,400-square-foot structure in the Adams Gulch area north of Ketchum, which Tidwell sold for $18,000 to a group of investors—but who paid an estimated $45,000 to disassemble the home into two pieces and move it south to a Hailey location.

Some of the valley’s celebrities have donated to the materials thrift store. Actor Tom Hanks gave virtually all the contents of a small home he acquired at a building site north of Ketchum where he built his new home.

Actors Bruce Willis and Adam West also have donated.

In addition to helping the land trust, Tidwell points out that the donations not only are put to good use but also are not carted off to fill the county dump at Ohio Gulch.

Tidwell said that donors could call 788-0014 and expect to have materials picked up promptly by one of the store’s collection trucks.

The store, Tidwell, said, cannot accept paint or other toxic items, or old appliances that don't function.

(For more information, see www.woodriverlandtrust.org)


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.