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Entries in Visions Kitchens and Design (4)
Green Alliance signs up 100th firm Push continues to market Green Cards to consumers
By JIM CAVAN
Monday, September 24, 2012
PORTSMOUTH — It might be another 96 years before the Green Alliance officially turns 100, but that's not stopping them from celebrating another kind of century mark. Last week, the Portsmouth-based "green business union" officially welcomed aboard Home Town Technology Consultants (HTTC), making them the 100th "Business partner" in four years to take the green plunge.
An impressive feat, to be sure -- one made all the more admirable by the economic circumstances surrounding the company since the very beginning. Launched in 2008 by environmental activist and journalist Sarah Brown, the GA's initial aims were simple: To connect green-minded consumers with local businesses committed to rendering their products, services, and operations more sustainable and through public relations, brand building and story-telling to help grow those same green businesses.
This article was originally posted on the Green Alliance Blog on Dec 7, 2011 by Jim Cavan.
Certain businesses can get away with conducting their trade without the luxury of a showroom. But for Nathan Johnson, co-owner of Visions Kitchens, it was only a matter of time before such accommodations became a necessity.
This past month, Visions – a company which specializes in affordable green design and products – officially moved into their new showroom on High Street in Hampton.
At less than 1,000 square feet, Visions’ new by-appointment space isn’t exactly sprawling. But the visual exposure, combined with a more central Seacoast location near a bevy of other local, independent businesses added up to a winning formula for a company in the midst of a recession-defying boom.
“We’re excited about the location and the businesses that surround us,” said Johnson of his new abode. “And just having the flexibility that a show room provides I think will helps us better manage our projects.”
Since launching a year ago, Visions has carved a unique, green-focused niche in and around the Portsmouth area. Until recently, they’d managed to wear their lack of a showroom – and the resulting minimized carbon footprint – as a kind of badge of honor.
After a while, however, running a material-intensive business sans storefront seemed an unnecessary sacrifice.
“In all honesty, our situation isn’t that much different from where we were before,” said Johnson. “One important thing we do have now is visibility, which will hopefully help us continue to get our name out there.”
But a new storefront isn’t the only big news Visions can tout: Johnson and partner Ernie Proper recently brought on a third designer, who promises to take her new company’s green ethos to the next level.
A graduate of Keene State’s lauded Architecture program, Anne Scala has made the most of her long-held passion for green design, serving for the last two years as a volunteer for the New Hampshire Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
As a matter of fact, her efforts were so integral, Scala was recently bestowed the organization’s Volunteer of the Year Award.
Indeed, to say that Anne Scala knows a little something about sustainable design would be an understatement.
“I’ve been passionate about green all throughout my design experience,” Scala said. “It’s always been something that’s been very important to me, and I think we’re lucky that that’s where the future is.”
That certainly seems to be the case for Visions, who has in short order grown to become one of the most recognizable kitchen design companies anywhere in the region.
Chief to their strategy has been a steadfast commitment to offering products and approaches that are as green as they are affordable, including partnering with sources who practice sustainable harvesting; making use of bamboo and other sustainable wood products; featuring low or no VOC paints, stains and finishes; utilizing reclaimed or recycled cabinet and countertop materials, as well as specializing in design techniques which can help the owner receive points towards LEED certification.
Shortly after launching, Visions joined Green Alliance (GA), the Portsmouth-based organization which helps promote sustainability-minded businesses in the community. On top of getting access to the Alliance’s near 3,000 consumer members, Visions was also able to forge partnerships and participate in projects with other GA builders and designers.
“The guys at Little Green Homes especially did a lot to help me realize it’s possible to go after something that’s as important as green design,” Johnson said of his new-found collaborators. “That’s what they do, and by seeing that someone else could do it and do it well – that it wasn’t just something you saw on TV – really helped me to go after it.”
Taken together, Visions’ impressive growth, commitment to green, and newly enhanced visibility paint a picture of a company poised for continued success.
“Nathan has done a wonderful job of fostering a great community here for his company,” Scala exclaimed. “A lot of people here respect him, and I think with all the great things they’re doing they can only keep growing.”
“I see nothing but good things to come.”
This article was originally posted on the Green Alliance blog by Dave on Oct 11, 2011
When Visions Kitchens & Design co-owners Nathan Johnson and Ernie Proper aren't busy designing green kitchens for their customers, the two friends celebrate their Native American roots by hitting the road with the Black Thunder Singers, performing at Pow Wows all over New England.
The duo just got back from the 2011 Native American Music Awards, held on October 7th at the Seneca Niagara Hotel & Casino in New York's Niagara Falls, where the Black Thunder Singers won “Best Pow Wow Recording” for their album Black Thunder.
“This is the Native American equivalent to the Grammy’s,” said Johnson. “For Pow Wow groups, this is the highest award you can get.
“To be nominated is an honor,” he noted. “To win is unbelievable. It feels kind of surreal.”
Both Johnson and Proper see their music as a celebration as of their Native American identities.
“I am Hunka Lakota and Ernie is Lakota Oglala,” Johnson noted with pride.
That made the experience of winning at the 2011 Native American Music Awards all the more rewarding for these two longtime friends and business partners, who first met 13 years ago at a Boy Scout summer camp.
“There were performances throughout the awards ceremony,” according to Johnson. “It was very cool to be there.”
“If people want to explore this type of music, they can attend any one of the Pow Wows now taking place on a regular basis throughout New England,” he said.
Black Thunder Singers next performance is scheduled for Sunday, October 16 at the York Harvest Fest Pow Wow. The event runs from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, right across the street from Yorks Wild Kingdom. The group's award winning album Black Thunder will be available for purchase at the show and is also available online 24/7 on Amazon and iTunes.
Lakota beliefs also influence the way Johnson and Proper do business as the co-owners of Visions Kitchens and Design.
“According to the Lakota tradition, the Earth is out mother and we operate our business with that in mind,” as Johnson puts it. “The Lakota always ask the question, ‘How are we impacting the environment seven generations from now?'"
A Green Alliance Business Partner, Visions Kitchens and Design is working to spread that kind of green mindset by offering Green Card holders a free initial consultation, plus 15 percent off all qualifying cabinets and countertops.