When given a choice, I always purchase local produce and products at the farmers market or grocery store. I like knowing that I am supporting a local family business in our community and that the dollars stay here in the region.
By Rebecca Riden
Plus, fruit and vegetables just seem to taste better when they haven’t traveled very far.
I follow that same logic when selecting and recommending building items for clients’ new homes or renovations. My clients appreciate the quality and enjoy knowing that they are supporting our region.
Another benefit of buying locally is that it reduces the shipping distance, which saves energy. Considering the weight, size and the sheer quantity of everything required to build or renovate a home, there could be considerable fuel energy savings.
“Just down the road in Joplin,” explained an enthusiastic roofing installer on why he used only TAMKO roofing shingles.
That is how I learned about TAMKO’s line of laminated asphalt/architectural shingles. TAMKO Building Products is based in Joplin, Mo., and has about 750 employees in the region.
The letters stand for Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma — the company’s trade area when it was founded in 1944. TAMKO also has a plant in Lamar, Mo., that produces Evergrain composition deck products.
The family-owned company is a national producer of attractive shingles, and it was using recycled materials long before it was trendy.
I have other go-to products that I always recommend for their quality and dependability.
For example, Koch & Co., based in Seneca, Kan., is a favorite for its many door design styles and craftsmanship.
I also liked that when I called the company to ask a question about its cabinet line, a worker cheerfully gave me another number to call “as our cabinets are produced on the other end of town.”
Koch & Co. products can be purchased locally through building material suppliers.
Closer to home, Prairie Village-based U.S. Stone Industries touts stone products with a timeless look.
The Cottonwood, Silverdale, Prairie Shell and Flint Hills Gray limestone are pulled from the company’s seven Kansas quarries. This native stone can be used on exterior walls and interior fireplaces or for landscaping, such as rock walls and walkways.
Look locally for lighting, as well.
Artist Dierk Van Keppel, of Rock Cottage Glassworks in Merriam, uses a blowpipe and artisan tools to create pieces that are functional and beautiful.
Lighting is a good way to have original art that is used and enjoyed every day. A handcrafted pendant light or wall sconce can add richness and a custom charm to a home.
For the bath, a Belvue, Kan., company called the Onyx Collection manufactures a solid surface “cultured Onyx” shower panel wall and base product. The company of 240 employees works without an advertising budget or salesmen or even a sign on its building.
Products are shipped nationwide to distributors in all 50 states. I like seeing “Proudly made in Kansas USA” on the company’s samples.
These are just a few of the many products produced in our region but distributed nationally. Every home project, whether a small remodel or entire new home, requires decisions on which products make the most sense for aesthetics and budget.
Another factor to consider when choosing building materials is where it is made, to discover if it is proudly homegrown.
To reach architect Rebecca Riden, go to ridenarch.com.