Rick's Emporium of sustainable goods
21 March 2023
Not many people get the opportunity to step into the wonderful world of Maintenance Manager, Rick Vanderkolk’s Emporium of sustainable household supplies. But the unique space located in the basement of The Poynton has become an invaluable resource over the years for the village team and residents.
“My whole philosophy is if you can use something again then it’s not end of life. Just because it may not be aesthetically pleasing to one person, doesn’t mean it’s not useful to another.”
Spotting an opportunity to recycle and reuse tapware, heating and bathroom accessories, cabinetry, fixtures, and more from refurbished apartments, Rick has been repurposing items since he joined the team more than 13 years ago.
“Instead of coming in and destroying things that will ultimately go to landfill, the contractors working on a refurbishment will now leave a lot of the materials for me to come in, collect and reuse.”
Not only has the initiative reduced the village’s environmental footprint, but it’s created a highly efficient and effective service offering too, enabling a fix for issues requiring hard to source parts or parts taking a long time to order in.
Not stopping there, Rick and his team are passionate about creating greater efficiencies right across the village.
“We have just finished converting 1800 lights to LED in all our corridors, communal areas and basement.
Switching to LED was a no-brainer. We’re saving on energy use, cost, and labour. It means we can put our time to better use too.”
Priding himself on his customer service and dependability, Rick says making residents lives that much easier is what he loves the most about his role.
“When a new resident moves in, I enjoy being part of a team that ensures the experience is as smooth as possible for them. Because change can be unnerving. I help with getting their pictures up, mirrors in, beds in place, TV connected and invite them down for a cuppa or morning tea at the cafe.
“That might not be part of a traditional maintenance role, but building relationships and being able to solve a problem is really rewarding to me.”