May 25, 2018
Building Value is sometimes called “Cincinnati’s best-kept secret.” Tucked off of Spring Grove Avenue in a somewhat nondescript building (except for two grand columns), too many people aren’t aware of the treasure that hides within. But Building Value also boasts a deeply loyal customer base, some visiting weekly to discover new items. David Rueve is one of those loyal customers, but he’s even more than that. He is an ambassador for reuse and innovation, he sees the bigger picture of Building Value’s mission, and he supports it through thick and thin. Hot off the heels of yet another incredible Designer Challenge experience, we are recognizing David Rueve as an Easterseals Hero.
David Rueve has been a “tinkerer” his whole life. He is the entrepreneur behind both Auto4N and Metro Scooter in Evanston. In fact, it was Metro Scooter that brought Rueve to Building Value. Rueve restoring a building from 1890 to hold the scooter business that was rapidly expanding out of Auto4N. He wanted to preserve the history of the building as best he could, and didn’t know where to find appropriate materials. Then he discovered Building Value, when the resale store was still located in Walnut Hills on Gilbert Ave (still the administrative offices for Easterseals).
“I was bringing home light fixtures, trim pieces, doors, sconces, all period correct for this building,” recalls Rueve.
After that, the self-declared life-long recycler and up-purpose-er was hooked.
“I started coming to Building Value, got to know the store managers, and, you know, sort of became a part of the tribe or the family.”
The admiration is returned. Store Manager Dave Daniels shares that “The great thing about Dave Rueve, is he’s your modern day Renaissance Man. He does so many things well. He’s a business owner, an innovator, and he’s all about re-purposing.”
Rueve explains how he changed from customer to ambassador. "I thought it was really neat to be able to find stuff for my projects, to save the material from going into landfills, and I was talking to them about that they said, ‘You know we do a lot more than that here.’”
That’s when Rueve learned about where all the amazing finds were coming from: From the Building Value workforce development program. People facing chronic un or underemployment are taught construction skills by carefully salvaging items from buildings before demolition or renovation.
“It made a really powerful impression on me,” reflects Rueve. “It really solidified my relationship and commitment to Building Value and everything it stands for.”
That commitment has been invaluable. Rueve has participated in the ReUse-apalooza Designer Challenge for five years now, creating amazing works and raising nearly $2,000. His 2017 design has been his highest sell, for $800, and was even featured on WCPO.com. This year, his mid-century set of tables, lamps, and statuettes earned Second Place and was fought over by seven different bidders.
Not only that, but in the last year, Building Value has come upon hard times two different times. A robbery cost the deconstruction team dearly, and long-overdue roof repairs were financially troubling. Rueve has been there and has given back. His steadfast support is deeply appreciated by Easterseals, Building Value’s parent company and a non-profit dedicated to workforce development.
“We are lucky to have David as a friend and strong supporter of Building Value,” says Easterseals Annual Giving Lead, Lauran McHaffie. “He shares his creativity, generosity, talent and entrepreneurial spirit with us and is a true champion of the cause.”
David deflects the praise humbly, saying, “I’m embarrassed. I’m sure somebody deserves this more than I do. I get so much out of Building Value. If people like me, who are getting so much, don’t put back in, the system isn’t going to work.”
Thanks to you, David, the Building Value system is humming along. We are grateful for all you give back: your time, your creativity, your friendship, and your advocacy. And we are humbled in return to share your closing words:
“I really don’t want this interview to end without me saying: Dave Daniels and David Rich are just…when I come in the store, there’s always a big smile, asking me how I’m doing, what am I working on. If I’m looking for something, I can let them know and they’ll even call me and let me know they think they found what I’m looking for. I’ll go in on a Monday, Dave Daniels’ day off, and he’ll be there because he had to come in to help [a customer] out. They’re so committed; it’s always a great experience. Even if I don’t find what I’m looking for, I’m always glad I went in the store.”