If you've admired the rustic wood motif you've seen at restaurants such as Cane Rosso, you can get that look yourself with the opening of a retail outlet of PalletSmart, the North Texas company that specializes in recycling wood pallets into good-looking furniture and decor.
The store will open on March 4 at 5321 White Settlement Rd., giving PalletSmart a platform to expand from the commercial to the consumer world, with a line of already made furniture and decorative items. It's the latest stop on a brisk trajectory that founders John Zaskoda and Kevin Rennels have experienced since launching their business in 2012.
"This is our first full-fledged effort at trying to do a solid whack at retail," Zaskoda says. "A lot of what we've done has been custom orders, but that's not something everyone wants. We wanted smaller, lower-priced items if people liked the look and wanted to pick something up."
That includes general home décor items such as coffee tables, end tables, wall shelves, planters, and bird houses, price from under $10 all the way up to one-of-a-kind dining room tables that are $3,000. "A lot of folks these days like the rustic look, and recycling has become huge," he says.
Recycling pallet wood has also become a popular home project, but Zaskoda cautions that not all pallet wood is alike. "It's a fun project, but some of this wood you just can't use, and some is not built to last," he says.
The space they're in was previously an old Fina station and, before that, a combination convenience store and service station. They moved there in 2013 and had a retail portion that did well enough during the holidays, but lacked a cohesive formula.
"There's a lot of interest in this kind of look, but we had to figure out what would attract people to come to this part of Fort Worth to shop," he says.
He and Rennels started the company in March 2012, literally in their backyard. "I built some planter boxes, and Quincy Wallace, who co-owns Fred's Cafe, asked me to build a few for the restaurant," Zaskoda says.
Three months later, they rented an old dance studio on White Settlement.
"A week later, we were thinking, 'What did we just do?'" Zaskoda says. "But right about that time, we got a call from Rahr Brewery, who'd seen what we did at Fred's. We ended up building their bar.
"Then Jay Jerrier opened Cane Rosso in Fort Worth, which led to Pecan Lodge, which led to Brian Luscher. Now we're in dozens of bars and restaurants, like Omni and On the Border. We've been very supported by Fort Worth and Dallas."
Everything they build, whether rustic or refined, comes from a repurposed source, which is a point of pride.
"It does a lot for the local economy," he says. "Disposing of pallets can be complicated for companies. We're proud that we've taken a lot of that waste off their hands for the last four years."