Community Forklift wins small business award from eBay, thanks to its mission and its fans
BY KRISSI HUMBARD — A local company that has had a big impact on the community has just won a big prize. Community Forklift, along with its CEO Nancy J. Meyer, have been selected as the winner of the Charitable Business category for the eBay SHINE Awards for Small Business. The announcement was made at eBay Open 2017 on July 27 in Las Vegas.
The SHINE Awards, sponsored by USPS, is a seller recognition program for entrepreneurs who have used eBay to help build successful businesses. In its second year, eBay says it received over 2,400 submissions from sellers across the U.S. Those submissions were narrowed to 15 finalists in five categories. Winners from the five categories were selected through online voting from the public.
“Whittling so many submissions down to just 15 finalists in five categories wasn’t easy,” wrote Hal Lawton, Senior VP of eBay North America, in a blog post.
The five categories were: Minority or Woman-Owned Business, Rising Star, Global Business, Charitable Business, and Young Entrepreneur. The prizes include $5,000, a professional redesign of the seller’s eBay storefront, and additional marketing support from eBay.
“This award really belongs to our Forklift fans who rallied the votes to help us win,” Meyer said. She added in a blog post, “All of us here at the ‘Lift are excited, and feeling grateful for all of YOU. So many people have shared their love for us through this process, and lots of you told us you voted every day. Our staff and volunteers work hard to lift up our community through reuse — so it feels terrific to know that our work is appreciated!”
Community Forklift is a nonprofit reuse center for building materials, architectural salvage and antiques. The name refers to the organization’s mission “to lift up communities” in the DC area by turning the region’s construction waste stream into a resource stream.
“These prizes will help us reach a larger online audience, which means we can do more good here in the DC region!” Meyer wrote on a blog post. “We can keep more materials out of landfills, provide more free materials to neighbors in need, and offer more green jobs to local residents.”
Meyer says Community Forklift started selling on eBay to attract a larger audience for some of its quirkier items. Community Forklift sells everything from cabinets, rugs, door knobs, appliances, art, old doors and windows — even toilets.
“Community Forklift is the largest and most successful seller of vintage toilets on eBay,” Meyer wrote on her eBay application. “We clean, crate, and ship vintage toilets worldwide.”
Asked about the most memorable thing they’ve sold on eBay, Meyer wrote, “We’ve sold some pretty cool items. Even so, what is far more memorable are the people who give new life to our old materials!” She said the “Mamie Eisenhower” pink tub, sink and toilet used in the bathroom of Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” series on Netflix came from Community Forklift. “We also sold duckpin balls to be used in an episode of “Elementary” — which thrilled our Sherlock Holmes-loving employees — and a vintage film developing canister is now on display on the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.” (Meyer also tells an aww-inducing story about a couple who fell in love on the bowling lanes — and ended up with some of those lanes in their home, thanks to Community Forklift!)
Meyer has been with Community Forklift since early 2007, becoming chief operating officer in 2009 and serving as chief executive officer since 2012. Community Forklift says it currently employs 50 green workers, keeps millions of dollars of building materials from going to waste, and provides materials for tens of thousands of homeowners, small businesses, nonprofits, artisans, and historic restoration projects. The organization also offers public education about reuse, green living, and home repair; and distributes free supplies to hundreds of local nonprofits and neighbors in need each year.
If you’ve never visited Community Forklift, this Friday is a great time to go. Once a month, the warehouse turns into a pop-up market for Forklift First Fridays with a mystery salvage sale, live music, local artists, a magician, and food, beer and wine! 6-8 p.m., 4671 Tanglewood Dr.