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At the Center for ReSource Conservation’s retail store, the showroom is built from the kinds of materials it sells, all perfect for upcycling. (All photos: Kiran Herbert)

Forget Lowe’s—Visit ReSource for Unique Father’s Day Gifts

Forgo the urge to buy anything new for Dad, and instead pay a visit to an upcycling haven in Boulder. 

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Father’s Day, like so many other Hallmark holidays, can leave environmentalists in a bind: Our gifting culture emphasizes buying the newest, trendiest things, which are likely to be pushed aside in short order for the next hot item. It’s a cycle that encourages unnecessary production and creates massive amounts of trash—but you don’t want to show up empty-handed, either.

Enter Boulder’s Center for ReSource Conservation, a nonprofit formed in 1976 in response to rising energy costs, as well as the impending need to transition to more sustainable ways of living. Its retail store, ReSource, opened in 1998 and provides previously loved building materials on the cheap (profits are reinvested in other conservation programs). Around 30 to 35 percent of landfills are made up of construction waste, and to date, ReSource has diverted more than 3.4 million pounds of material from entering that system.

ReSource’s stock is primarily composed of building materials and fixtures, with prices between 75 to 85 percent cheaper than what you’ll pay for retail. Although its clientele largely consists of contractors and artists, anyone who watches HGTV—or is simply open to the idea of upcycling—will appreciate what ReSource has to offer. ReSource’s senior manager, Brandon Hill, says customers have come from as far away as Homer, Alaska, and Chihuahua, Mexico, to shop, though most live in the Denver metro area.


ReSource’s warehouse for weather-sensitive goods.

Inventory changes by the hour, and though you can find ready-to-go items like the pool table pictured above (a steal at $175), the real fun comes from sourcing materials for projects. Many of the store’s staffers used to work in construction and other trades, and they’re happy to help, often drawing insight from projects they’ve seen previous customers take on.

“The staff has a genuine urge to help people build something and make their home nicer,” says David Eberle, a home remodeler and one of ReSource’s frequent customers, who adds that ReSource has virtually replaced Home Depot for him.

So whether your dad has been waxing poetic about a kitchen renovation or is simply looking to deck out his man cave, head to ReSource for gifting inspiration this year. (Just don’t come looking for upholstered furniture, as that’s one item the store doesn’t stock.) Hill says fixin’s for tiny homes, raised garden beds, and anything made from reclaimed wood are all the rage.

“People can come here and start looking at some of the materials available to help build their chicken coop, for example, rather than just going out and making a big purchase,” says CRC president Neal Lurie. “It makes for a participatory activity, which I think more people are looking for, especially on Father’s Day.”

Here, some ideas from our recent visit:

Moms: A new shower door for the master bathroom is a gift you’ll both enjoy. Or facilitate quality time for Dad and the kids by picking up a pitchback rebound net or basketball hoop.

Poker night, anyone?

Show Dad a kitchen remodel isn’t out of reach: It’s not unusual to find an entire set of cabinets at ReSource.

Bamboo flooring typically goes for more than a dollar or two per square foot. At ReSource, you can snag flooring at a fraction of that price.

That perfectly good smoker? $20. The grill? $25.

Heat up the man cave with a $25 fireplace.

Help put off the Dad bod with fitness equipment for the basement.

The oven on the left is brand-new, with a retail sticker still on it for $1,799 (ReSource’s price is $500). The used oven on the right typically retails for $5,000 (ReSource’s price is $1,000). These items were located in the showroom, where the stock tends to be more high-end—and the prices higher.

Ask the staff to help you round up materials for a DIY lawn chair, which Dad and the kids can build together.

No specific project on the horizon? Consider buying Dad a membership to ReSource’s Tool Library. Access to more than 700 tools is just $25 a year; each tool has a different daily rate on top of that (usually just a couple of bucks).

(Read about the Denver Tool Library, a first for the Mile High City.)

Interested in learning more about the Center for ReSource Conservation? Check out some of the nonprofit’s other programs:

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