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Top 5 Things to do in July
The Giving Trees: Forklift + Treincarnation = Woodworkers' Bliss
A Little Space to Say a Big Thank You
Jump into July Sales

Dear Forklift Fans,

Happy Independence Day!!

Did you know that on the Fourth of July,
We have to admit we love our hot dogs, but here's what we're really looking forward to: celebrating healthy communities, healthy families, and healthy attitudes toward reuse with you!

We have a lot coming up!  Our DIY workshop series runs throughout the summer, and we have our Summer of Life Community Block Party in just two weeks.

If you decide to visit us, please bring along a can or box for our summer food drive (drop them in the trunk near our checkout). We're collecting nonperishable food items to be be handed out during neighboring Riverdale Park's Community Resource Day in September. 

Also, if you have a working window A/C unit just sitting around (or know someone who does), why don't you bring that in, too? Through our HELP program, we distribute working appliances free to neighbors in need. 
We have been getting lots of calls from seniors and folks with health problems who are struggling in the heat. We'd be so grateful for your donations of working window units!


You can't beat the relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere at Prince George's Stadium, home to the Bowie Baysox.  If you prefer the thrill of cheering for the big leaguers, head to Nationals Park (the first pro stadium to become LEED Silver Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council), or Camden Yards (their hot dogs were recently rated best in the nation!  We love the crab-mac-and-cheese-dogs).   


Even the sunshine state of Florida can't compete with the incredible selection of free and low-cost aquatic facilities in the region. DC's Department of Parks and Recreation and Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation have locations throughout the area. Two of our favorites? Turkey Thicket Splash Park in Brookland and Rolling Crest-Chillum Splash Park

Looking for a date night? Here is a wonderful opportunity to relax with friends & family in our local watershed. Anacostia Watershed Society is offering twenty-five FREE paddle nights in several locations along the Anacostia River. AWS will provide the canoes, life jackets, and a safety lesson. Find all the details here.

From 11am to 5pm on Saturday, July 12th, we're bringing together the University of Maryland, Capital Area Food Bank, Elysian Home Energy, Riverdale Park Bikram Yoga, Joe's Movement Emporium, Wit's End Puppetry, MOM's Organic Market, Eco-City Farm's, Berliner Ice Cream, MADE Microfinance, CASE, Prince George's Humane Society, the Collaborative, End Time Harvest Ministries, SHINE Massage, Priority Partners, Community Crisis Services, Inc. and many more of our community neighbors to celebrate our community's health and well-being.  
  • Live Music
  • Fresh Produce Giveaway
  • Free Workshops on Individual & Community Health
  • Live Yoga, Dance, & Exercise Demonstrations
  • Tour of Eco-City Farms
  • Sweet & Savory Treats

Get all the details on our blog!  









The Giving Trees:

Forklift + Treincarnation = Woodworkers' Bliss


By Elizabeth McGowan



Forklift reuse associate Charlie Lobos rearranges some of the sustainable harvested lumber that Treincarnation founder Marcus Sims regularly stocks in bins at the front of the Forklift warehouse. Photo Credit: Elizabeth McGowan 

Ryan Lacz remembers when he first fell under the wood's spell. It was a long, elegant plank of tapered mulberry lined up neatly with its locally and sustainably harvested, air-dried and rough-planed brethren near the Community Forklift entryway.


"I looked at it and thought, 'Wow, that's gorgeous and unique,'" Lacz recalls about his introduction to Forklift consigner Treincarnation

more than three years ago.


The timing was perfect. Lacz, an animal keeper at the Smithsonian's National Zoo had dabbled in rough carpentry as a renter. But he had recently purchased a house in the Lamond Riggs neighborhood in Northeast D.C., so he finally had room for a workshop. He purchased the alluring slab of bark-on mulberry, as well as a table saw and a passel of other tools he found in the Forklift's hardware section, and soon delved into crafting his inaugural piece of furniture-a side table for his home.


Lacz is not alone in his reverence for the mulberry, black walnut, American elm, maple, cherry, catalpa, holly, oak, osage orange and other species that are a magnet for both amateur and professional woodworkers.

D.C. resident Ryan Lacz made his first piece of furniture, a side table, from this slab of Treincarnation mulberry he purchased at the Forklift. The legs are formed from Treincarnation black walnut. Over time, the tabletop has taken on a darker and richer hue.  Photo Credit: Ryan Lacz

And that's one of the reasons Treincarnation and the Forklift have been engaged in a symbiotic relationship for the last seven years. This healthy bond is a boon for both entities because it's an extra bonus for Forklift customers seeking more variety, says Melissa Cooperson, the Forklift's pricing coordinator for vintage and specialty products.


"Treincarnation adds such value to the Forklift because that wood stimulates people's creative juices," she says. "Once they choose a piece of wood, they walk around the store to find everything they need for their project. And we've got it all; everything from soup to nuts."


She points out that Marcus Sims, the founder of Treincarnation, already invests an enormous amount of manpower, imagination and talent in his venture.

"He's tied up in producing goods so it makes sense to invite him here, where we have a huge audience, and provide him with a market," Cooperson says. "That way we don't have to go out there and cut up trees."

Melissa Cooperson, vintage and specialty products pricing coordinator, sorts through mounds of hardware, and prices augers in her warehouse office at the Forklift.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth McGowan


From a reuse and an environmental perspective, Treincarnation encapsulates the Forklift's mission and ethic, she adds.


"Can you imagine taking all of that wood, feeding it into a chipper and putting it around a flower bed as mulch?" Cooperson asks. "What a waste that would be."


Just the thought of a chipper chomping at his prized lumber makes Sims cringe. He prides himself on the fact that he doesn't cut down trees to reap his bark-covered bounty. Most of it is salvaged from private and public lands in Montgomery County, but he also harvests downed logs in locales in Virginia, D.C. and Baltimore when he receives alerts from his network of arborists.


Sims hauls all of the logs to his farm in Clarksville, Maryland. That's where he and a colleague with a portable bandsaw mill cut the logs into boards one- to two-inches thick. To maintain the quality and color of the wood, he shuns kilns for air drying. That requires layering the logs under roofs in stacks measuring 12 feet wide, 15 feet long and 8 feet high. Spacers between each board allow air to circulate. Drying is a long-term process because Sims's rule of thumb is one year for each inch of thickness.


He began stockpiling logs in the early 1990s when he stumbled upon a dead black walnut tree in Rockville that had succumbed to a strong wind at least a decade beforehand.


"That was the start and then it became sort of an obsession," says Sims, who was then earning his living as a carpenter and handyman. "I wasn't building furniture yet but I knew the wood was valuable and could be used for something good."


Soon, he was collecting more blowdowns. He eased the pain of watching five wooded acres in Wheaton be cleared for townhouses by renting a 20-foot rolloff and repeatedly filling it with logs. Over about two months, he hauled at least 200 20-foot logs from that tract to his farm.


In the late 1990s, his clients urged him to experiment with making furniture with the wood he was milling. And that gave him a new career.


Amateur woodworker Chris Desautels is just one in a long line of Forklift customers grateful for Sims's obsession.

Amateur woodworker Chris Desautels of University Park crafted this table with a slab of black walnut from Treincarnation and pieces of purpleheart he purchased at Community Forklift. He also used Treincarnation black walnut and maple to craft the buffet in the background.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth McGowan


"I like the idea of supporting the local guy," says Desautels, whose University Park home is filled with tables, bookcases, jewelry boxes, martial arts tools, an entertainment center, a buffet and a futon frame crafted in his basement workshop with wood from Treincarnation as well as other salvage sources. "Marcus should be encouraged and rewarded for the way he harvests lumber."


Desautels, who spends his days building Web sites in Baltimore, says he gravitated toward woodworking because he wanted a hands-on avocation that went beyond pushing electrons around.


"When I go to the Forklift I usually snag something, even if I don't know how I'll use it right away," he says. "I know I'll find something interesting that has personality."


Desautels and Lacz agree that no big box store can come close to the inspiring, one-of-a-kind treasures that Treincarnation delivers.


"It's like the difference between buying eggs at the grocery store and the farmers market," Lacz says. "This is real wood as it actually grows. It has such beautiful texture and richness. You can see the sapwood, the heartwood and the grain. I'm hooked."


Sims's views his partnership with the Forklift as more than just a financial transaction.


He was born into a military family in Alaska. What followed was a peripatetic childhood in Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The time he spent alone in the woods of those states imbued him with his awe for trees.


"The Forklift is helping me to put lumber into the hands of people who appreciate it," Sims says. "By living with these pieces in their homes, I figure their own respect for nature grows deeper because clearly trees give us so much."


Then he takes a breath, as if preparing to wax poetic about his efforts to help humans comprehend the multilayered benefits and beauty of trees.

Instead, he pauses. And offers just one more succinct thought: "I like to let my lumber do the preaching."



To learn more, visit   



We'd like to give a shout out to Millenial Farmers and District Garden, two eco-friendly businesses in the area who go have gone out of their way to educate Forklift Fans about gardening and water

The next time you visit our warehouse, take a look out front at our newest editions - a colorful vertical garden installed by Niraj Ray and Claire Newbegin of Millennial Farmers, as well as a nice new rain barrel and perennial plants, courtesy of Ben at District Garden.


40% off Lighting with Orange Tags
Take 40% off light fixtures with orange tags, including lamps, chandeliers, sconces, and other styles 
(Sale does not include items from our consignment partners, vintage items with blue tags, select specialty items, or items with missing or damaged price tags).
30% Off Kitchen Cabinets


Take 30% off the orange tags on kitchen cabinet sets, individual kitchen cabinets, cabinet doors, and cabinet drawers.  Check out these great ideas for upcycling the "orphan" doors and drawers - you can make everything from pet beds & planters to chalkboards & bathroom storage!

(Sale does not include select vintage items with blue tags, bathroom cabinetry, select specialty items, cabinet hardware, items from our consignment partners, or items with missing or damaged price tags). 


30% off Furniture with Orange Tags

Take 30% off the orange tags on indoor and outdoor furniture, Sale includes beautiful coffee tables, dining sets, TV armoires, dressers, and chairs we recently received from a luxury hotel, as well as cafe tables from a restaurant!

(Sale does not include items from our consignment partners, select specialty items, or items with missing or damaged price tags).


30% off Kitchen & Laundry Appliances

Take 30% off the orange stickers on washers, dryers, dishwashers, stoves, fridges, microwaves, and more 
(Sale does not include items from ALCO or other consignment partners, items with blue tags, select specialty items, or items with missing or damaged price tags).
30% off Windows, Sashes and Shutters with Orange Tags
Take 30% off surplus and salvaged windows, window sashes, and shutters with orange price tags 
(Sale does not include items with blue tags, items from our consignment partners, select specialty items, or items with missing or damaged price tags).


And don't forget... we now have Midweek Flash Sales!

This summer, we'll have extra deep discounts for you on Wednesdays & Thursdays (For example, one lucky Forklift Fan saved over $800 on kitchen cabinets last week)


Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to find out the details each week!



See you at the warehouse soon!   

Your friends at the Forklift