Going Green in Boston
I’m not Irish, but I’m sure feeling it today. St. Patrick’s Day in Boston is an unparalleled experience.
No, I’m not downing Guinness at the Black Rose … I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by opening the new Timberland store on Boston’s famed Newbury Street. What’s so green about a shoe store? In a word, everything. From the tabletops reclaimed from old athletic bleachers to the recycled stoneware floor tiles to LED lighting and low VOC paints, we’ve designed this store – and the ones like it that will open later this spring in New York and San Francisco – to serve as a real-life example of how we’re working to reduce our environmental footprint and operate our business more responsibly and sustainably.
Despite the St. Paddy’s Day launch and the opportunity it gives us to cleverly (or not) play up the “green” aspects of our store, our commitment to environmental sustainability isn’t a marketing tactic … it’s as much a part of our heritage as Boston itself. My grandfather started this business as the Abington Shoe Company on Camden Street, just blocks from where our new store is opening today.
I can remember my grandfather stopping to pick up sewing bobbins off the factory floor when I was a kid … as he would pick them up, he’d say, “there’s a penny … there’s a penny …” it wasn’t called recycling in his day, it was called frugality. Make the best use that you can, for as long as you can, out of what you have – not in order to save the environment, but in order to save a buck. Three generations later, here we are staring at reclaimed wood countertops and marveling at the shiny new LED light fixtures. Same value, different outcomes.
Some might argue that it would be cheaper and less complicated to design our new stores with less emphasis on the environmental and more focus on, I dunno, the actual products we’re trying to sell … but then they would be missing the point that businesses today should be doing both. We don’t have to make a choice between creating beautiful, durable products that perform and operating our business in a way that’s mindful of the environment or our impact on it. To the contrary — as an brand and a business that makes boots, shoes and gear for the outdoors, it’s in our best interest to help preserve it … and reduce our impact on it, any and every way we can. Just as every new store puts us more boldly on the map, every step we take to put our environmental values into action – from Earthkeepers products to stores designed with environmental consciousness and consideration – lends credence to the notion that businesses can and should be a force for environmental good.
In the spirit of environmental responsibility, I can do without the Dirty Water (yech) … but otherwise, the Standells had it right. Boston, you’re my home … and there’s no place I’d rather be celebrating heritage and values and all things green today.