Unique shop caters to builders,
Building Materials Thrift Store aids
By PAT MURPHY
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
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
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
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
The store, Tidwell, said, cannot accept
paint or other toxic items, or old appliances that don't function.
(For more information, see