Marketing Practices in the Urban and Reclaimed Wood Industries


  • Anna Pitti University of Minnesota
  • Omar Espinoza Univ of Minnesotaa
  • Robert Smith Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


urban wood, reclaimed wood, marketing, wood products


In the US, trees felled in urban areas and wood generated through construction and demolition (C&D) are primarily disposed of as low value resources, largely sent to landfills or utilized for energy, composting, and landscaping mulch. In recent years, the urban and reclaimed wood industries have emerged to provide a higher value-added outlet, foster local economies, and divert supplies to landfills. This paper presents the results of a nationwide survey carried out to understand marketing practices of the urban and reclaimed wood industries. Results indicate a majority of respondents were small firms operating for less than 10 years and appealing to consumers between 35 and 54 years of age with upper middle income status. Products and species were variable between firms, and sales were largely made-to-order and priced higher than similar products made from traditional sources. Primary promotional messages include quality, aesthetics, and customization, largely advertised via company webpage, word of mouth, and social media. Prevalent distribution channels include direct sales, online sales, and retail sales. Partnerships appear to be critical for effective raw material procurement, and despite barriers associated with urban and reclaimed wood materials and production, growth expectations were unanimously optimistic, as reported by participating firms.

Author Biographies

Anna Pitti, University of Minnesota

Anna R PittiGraduate Student Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems EngineeringUniversity of Minnesota 

Omar Espinoza, Univ of Minnesotaa

Omar Espinoza
Associate Professor
Forest Products Management Development Institute Chair
Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Department
University of Minnesota
(612) 624-0770
2004 Folwell Ave
St Paul, MN 55108

Robert Smith, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Professor and Head, Sustainable Biomaterials




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