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GreenWorks Building Supply brings one-stop green shopping to Vancouver

GreenWorks Building Supply

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With Vancity we can do business throughout North America without any hassle, and at good competitive rates, too. Pete McGee, co-founder GreenWorks Building Supply

When Pete McGee returned to his hometown of Vancouver in 2006, he found a city with a sterling reputation for environmental stewardship but a surprising lack of environmentally friendly building supplies.

Seeing the need and the opportunity, Pete and friend Alastair Moore founded GreenWorks Building Supply Inc., a one-stop-shop green building supply centre. Pete looked to Vancity to supply the business banking services—as a long-time personal member, Pete knew Vancity shared his values around sustainability and the environment. Later, Vancity worked with Pete to provide foreign exchange services, which are essential to the GreenWorks business model.

For Vancity, it’s clear that supporting GreenWorks makes a positive local impact—both on the economy and the environment. “When businesses have these kind of values, we are thrilled that they choose us for their banking partner,” says Maureen Cureton, community investment manager at Vancity. “We’re committed to supporting the green economy, and GreenWorks is a great example of a local business that provides products that not only help us live a quality life, but also help us live more lightly on the land.”

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GreenWorks opened its doors in 2007 and has focused on finding the very best in green building supplies. “Before opening the shop, I often worked on my own projects and had a problem sourcing all the green building products that I was looking for,” says Pete. “I had a hard time finding them, period, and definitely not in one place. It became an obstacle to purchasing in an environmentally conscious way, and it seemed like the market needed a green building store.”

The building supply centre sells environmentally friendly building materials and housewares—everything from recycled countertops to organic mattresses to non-toxic paints. Vancouverites can be secure in the knowledge that the products on the shop’s shelves have been vetted by specialists.

“Everything in the store starts on the premise that it's healthy, environmentally friendly, sustainable and/or energy efficient, and then we work back from there,” says Pete.

“If a product can be found locally, that's our priority because that is ultimately the greenest way to do things,” says Pete. However, GreenWorks is often forced into sourcing materials from around the world. So Vancity’s foreign exchange services are a great asset to Greenworks. “With Vancity we can do business throughout North America without any hassle, and at good competitive rates, too. This helps maximize our product lines and build the green economy in Vancouver.”

As founding member of LOCO BC, a network of locally-minded businesses, Vancity has also helped GreenWorks establish their operations and develop community support. Through this network, GreenWorks was featured in a LOCO BC video on east side Vancouver businesses. They also were able to host a LOCO business mixer and introduce their newly located store to the community. This network has been important to the growth GreenWorks and the local green economy.

“Our goal is to make it easier for customers to understand what they’re purchasing and how it's different from other products,” says Pete. “Green building supplies are important to building a sustainable future.”


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