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Clothes Bin provides new life for old clothes

INNOVATION

New Life for Old Clothes

Nick Boariu says 85% of old clothes and shoes wind up in landfills. In 2015, he and business partner Marc Douglas founded Clothes Bin as a for-profit franchise targeting that market for recycling. Franchisees rent space for bins in high-visibility, high-traffic, easy-access locations — such as shopping centers or convenience stores or in a revenue-sharing partnership with schools. Franchisees sell the clothes by the pound locally to retailers, thrift stores or wholesalers or sell to bulk collectors through a national buyer program.

“We accept everything,” Boariu says. Buyers grade the items, which can go into stores, be shipped overseas or turned into rags or wipes. His company has 40 franchisees with 1,500 bin locations in 15 states.

Boariu is a 2002 Florida State University marketing grad. Davie-based Clothes Bin sits atop the Seminole 100, FSU’s list of the fastest-growing alumni-owned or alumni-led businesses, with 292% compounded annual growth. The franchisor estimates the minimal franchisee investment, including working capital and initial franchise fee, is $156,145.

  • The South Florida Water Management District, the regional water supply regulatory body, began work on a 6,500-acre engineered marsh, the district’s contribution to a larger $1.6-billion reservoir project to absorb water that now flows into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers’ estuaries. Excess freshwater going into the estuaries has been blamed for damaging the environments there. The stormwater treatment area will complement a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 10,100-acre reservoir slated for completion in 2028.

REAL ESTATE

  • Broward College wants a private-sector partner to develop a 15.5-acre site at its central campus entrance on Davie Road in Davie. The site includes a lake, two parking lots and an overflow lot.

RETAIL

  • Retailer Sprouts Farmers Market held a virtual job fair to staff new stores in Wellington, Jupiter and Deerfield Beach, each employing about 110 full- and parttime staff.

CONSTRUCTION

  • Pompano Beach-based Current Builders appointed company President Michael C. Taylor CEO, succeeding Charles P. “Chip” Reid. Senior Vice President Henry “Hank” Huisman also retired. The firm is busy with projects for Broward schools, senior-living and multifamily housing and the Uptown Boca mixed-use development. Average annual revenue is more than $250 million.

RESEARCH

  • The National Institutes of Health awarded Florida Atlantic University neuroscientists a five-year, $1.7-million grant to study how inflammation affects neurons and neurotransmission and how that in turn triggers anxiety, depression and cognitive decline.

COVID-19 UPDATE

  • Boca Raton philanthropists Carole, 87, and Barry Kaye, 91, died from complications from COVID-19. Barry Kaye was a high school dropout who rose to fame and fortune selling life insurance as a tool for wealth preservation. He marketed through life insurance seminars, radio shows and books including“Die Rich and Tax Free!”
  • Rocker Jon Bon Jovi paid a visit to an online kindergarten class from Marsh Pointe Elementary in Palm Beach Gardens. The singer had invited fans to submit lyrics for a crowd-sourced song, “Do What You Can.” Teacher and Bon Jovi fan Michael Bonick assigned students to write some verses and submitted them online. Bon Jovi, taken by the submittals, joined the class online to sing three student verses.
  • The Palm Beach International Boat Show canceled its annual event and instead hosted a “Virtual Palm Beach International Boat Show” in May.
  • Fresh Rx created “Farm to First Responders” to provide fresh produce and KN95 masks to health care workers at Cleveland Clinic Martin Health, Treasure Coast Urgent Care and Primary Care, and Jupiter Medical Center. The new program uses donations to buy produce from local farms and gives it away. Fresh Rx was co-founded by Margaret Duriez, owner of Lox Farms. Fresh Rx began in 2019 at Jupiter Medical Center as a way for cancer, heart and pediatric patients to receive a weekly bag of free, fresh produce provided by Lox Farms.
  • In normal times, vacant homes tend to be a drag on the market since they’re often in poor condition, or the vacancy reflects sellers in distress. In the pandemic, however, FAU economist and former real estate broker Ken Johnson says vacancy is a plus. A home with no occupants lowers the risk of virus present, making buyers more willing to visit the properties and offer near market value, he says. “Vacant properties for sale are forming their own submarket,” he says.
  • St. Lucie County created a mortgage- and rental-assistance program to help cover payments for lower-income people who lost earnings from the economic impact of COVID-19 and government lockdown.

Read more in Florida Trend's July issue.
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