Murphys ‘recycling’ Jacksonville freight depot into Eco Relics
Michael and Ann Murphy are investing about $1 million into Eco Relics, a new business that focuses on recycled and discount products.
The Murphys developed their business to reuse, recycle and "repurpose" building supplies, construction tools and architectural salvage inventory.
"We're going to be as eco-friendly as we can," said Ann Murphy.
For example, if a mansion is torn down or significantly renovated, the Murphys are ready to pick up some of the pieces.
If a contracting company sells off its products or closes shop, they are prepared to buy inventory.
If a completed construction project has leftover materials, they're interested in what's available.
If a manufacturer has overruns, they're willing to take a look.
"We've even taken landscaping," she said.
"We take anything of value before it can be destroyed," said Michael Murphy.
The Murphys bought a former railroad freight depot at 106 Stockton St., about 2 miles from the core of Downtown, for $365,000. They said the structure, built in 1927, had been vacant for several years and before that had been used for storage. A small section of track remains.
The couple, who live in the Clifton area of Arlington, organized the business early this year, filling their LLC articles with the state Jan. 22. They completed the property purchase April 30.
The couple has been moving products into the building and awaiting a City permit, which was issued Wednesday, to complete some renovations. Ultimate Construction Inc. is handling the current work.
The Murphys hope to open for business in October after completing the construction and equipment work, which includes a pallet racking and storage system to organize the products.
They intend to sell at discount prices to contractors, interior decorators and the general public, as well as online. The website, under construction, is EcoRelics.com.
They expect to operate 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and they might be open on Sundays. They envision employing 12-20 people.
Michael Murphy said Eco Relics will be the largest architectural salvage company in a five-state area.
"Eco Relics has already saved a huge amount of material from going into landfills," he said.
He said an estimated 25 to 40 percent of materials at landfills are construction and renovation waste and demolition debris.
Eco Relics will cut back on that and also create jobs.
"There is a huge job potential for relatively unskilled labor to take part in deconstruction," he said.
Murphy is a veteran woodworker who said he has restored 20 houses in North Carolina, Ohio and Florida. He sold his Cherry Tree Toys mail-order enterprise 20 years ago.
Ann Murphy is a former software trainer from Boston.
The couple married nine years ago, having met through eHarmony.com. Michael asked her to marry him on their third meeting.
They bought the Clifton house in 2010 and relocated from North Carolina to Jacksonville full-time the past year.
The Murphys said their Stockton Street operation is in what they consider the "contracting district," given the plumbing and other contracting supply warehouses in the vicinity.
It is not far from Beaver Street and also has access to Interstate 95. They looked at other buildings, but the Stockton structure needed the least amount of work, Ann Murphy said.
"It's a cool building," she said.