Staff Spotlight: John

John is our awesome Warehouse and Online Sales Coordinator. If you have ever bought an item from the online ReStore, you’ve interacted with John!

Tell us about yourself.

I was raised in the rural Willamette Valley and moved to Portland at the tender age of 19 to study fine art. Following completion of the BFA program at the Pacific NW College of Art, I went to work in a print shop. I had the opportunity to teach myself desktop graphics, ultimately enabling me to land a position with Adidas footwear as a technical illustrator. After nearly 5 years honing my skills there, corporate cutbacks found me in a brief professional limbo, until I started receiving requests for contract work from former colleagues. Without intending to, I ended up self-employed for the decade and a half that followed, as necessity found me mastering a range of contemporary visualization tools on the Mac platform.

How did you first hear about the ReStore?

Along with some other big changes/challenges, I found myself in a period of transition, with a solid degree of uncertainty about my direction in life. This is about when I started volunteering with the ReStore, working several days a week as a box truck driver doing donation pick-ups for the Portland ReStore location. Later that summer the centralized DPU (Donation Pick Up) program was born, and I became a part-time member of that team. In the 5 years that followed, I transitioned to full-time and ultimately was designated Team Lead with a specialized focus on business donations.

Tell us about your role at the ReStore.

When 2020 happened and everything changed, our store locations were closed for a month. At that same moment, the online ReStore was born, and an unforeseen twist of fate found me with primary responsibility for that enterprise. This was in addition to warehouse coordination duties which I had been transitioning into since before the pandemic. By June 2020, I had been assigned the official role of Warehouse and Online Sales Coordinator. Producing quality photography, including lighting and backdrops, plus the challenge of writing compelling descriptions are among the kinds of creative challenges my brain is wired for. Add to that my passion for engineering, organization, efficiency, and problem-solving in general, and you have the perfect recipe for a very happy camper.

What is your favorite part of working at the ReStore?

The fact that we are collectively engaged in helping those less fortunate, endeavoring to give back, and trying to make the world a better place carries a kind of connected, personal satisfaction which is otherwise without precedent for me. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a part of something so vital in a world filled with so much inequity and hardship.

What something about the online ReStore you wish more people knew about?

I would like it to be more widely known how much care we put into screening and preparing items for sale. The word “curated” describes our selection process well, and everything which is listed for sale online has been evaluated for structural integrity and the earmarks of quality. A great example of the latter is emphasizing a preference for Dovetail type drawer joints, a feature that denotes either vintage quality standards or high-end contemporary builds. All items are checked for secure joints and properly tightened hardware, and are also expertly repaired as such needs present themselves.

What is your favorite ReStore purchase or DIY?

I had the good fortune to purchase a large set of traditional, divided light wood windows, many of which were duplicate sizes. These have since been incorporated into a rather elaborate greenhouse design, the bulk of which was completed this past summer. In general, my real-world creative works have been heavily influenced by the ReStore’s availability of salvaged materials and previously owned items. Reclaimed materials have become central to my creative process, with the term “upcycled” being one of my favorite descriptors for the resulting work.

Thank you John for sharing your ReStory with us! We are so thankful to have you on our team.

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