San Mateo company puts whole home to use — or reuse 

Paul Gardner, the veteran contractor of 20 years, founded Whole House Building Supply with the intention of not only salvaging reusable parts from old houses, but also keeping materials out of landfills for the sake of the environment. The business recently relocated from East Palo Alto to San Mateo.

What is Whole House Building Supply? We’re all about reduce, reuse and recycle. We help out the community as far as giving people jobs and training. We put a lot of formerly incarcerated people to work. We give materials and people a second chance.

When did you realize that you had a successful business model in terms of selling salvageable house parts? In 1995, I was asked to give a bid on the demolition on the wing of a house in Los Altos. I won that bid and one thing I did was held a sale at the house prior to demolition. And man, I was overwhelmed by the number of people that came out for the sale. Not only did they buy the windows and doors, but they bought the roofing ... all the bricks and the hardwood floor.

How has business been recently? Every couple of years, we would add on a new layer. In 2003, we started the idea that we could deconstruct whole buildings. And we’ve been doing it ever since.

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