Failing to find what she was looking for as a customer, Sarah Beatty unwittingly became the ambassador for all things green living. She founded Green Depot in 2005 as a source for sustainable, low-impact building supplies.
“I still firmly believe that not so long in the future there will be no such thing as ‘green’ buildings… buildings will just be ‘green.’”
A former MTV executive, Sarah Beatty had no intention of transitioning from her line of work. But when she and her husband discovered a mold infestation in their home a week before their first child was due, she went on a quest to find more sustainable building products for her home. The search bore few results, so she decided to sell them herself. In so doing, she realized, “People are struggling to navigate what environmentalism means and separate the myth from practical practice.” What Sarah has done with her company is bring the idea of environmentalism down into a tangible connection.
Green Depot first launched as a sister company to her husband, Mark Buller’s Marjam Supply Company, a retailer of traditional building supplies. The outfit later grew to several locations on the east coast, and recently on the west coast as well. The flagship New York City store opened in an historic YMCA building along the Bowery in 2009. It is the first LEED-certified retail store in the city. A sampling of the offerings include low VOC-emitting paints and finishes, sustainably sourced lumber, and cotton insulation batting made from recovered textiles.
They also offer a FLIP It Green service that helps designers and builders identify ways to “green” their construction and renovation projects. Even so, Sarah has noticed some reluctance along the way. She recalls a moment when she discovered that a contractor was filling the Green Depot’s containers with cheaper, toxic solutions. She recalls, “I realized then that the paradigm shift towards greener buildings would be slow and much more complex than I had anticipated.”” She later dropped the client, but doesn’t relinquish hope on future ones. She says, “We need to focus on helping pros who are interested [in adopting] these better, healthier materials — and make progress one job at a time.”