Community Voices - Jerry Anderson

Posted by Emily Belle
Emily Belle
Emily Belle is a second year Environmental Studies major at Oberlin College. Ori
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on September 2, 2014 in Community Voices

Jerry AndersonJerry Anderson is the owner of Watson’s Hardware, located at 26 South Main Street in Oberlin. He believes in making full use of available materials.

Q: What words/images would you use to describe Oberlin?
A: Coming from your point of view, zero carbon.

Q: Why would you choose these words/images?
A: I don’t know of any town that is trying harder [to reach zero carbon emissions].

Q: How is it that you came to open your business in Oberlin?
A: The economic opportunities.

Q: Could you briefly describe the nature of your business and its function in the Oberlin community?
A: We are a retail hardware store, and that serves as the function as well.

Q: The word sustainability can be used to describe actions that promote the economic, social, and environmental well-being of a community. What does sustainability mean to you as an Oberlin resident and business owner?
A: Sustainability means that we put fewer materials out than we take in.

Q: Do you think sustainability is a relevant factor in making business decisions? Why? How do your beliefs about sustainability influence your business model/practices?
A: : It should be a relevant factor. It influences my decisions very much so. I’m really trying is about all I can say about it. I think one of the best things we do around here is we try to fix used things and we try to sell used things. When people come in and need something fixed, if we can patch it up so they don’t spend any money on it, then I think that’s about the best thing we can do around here.

Q: What sustainable practices/initiatives have you incorporated into your business practices? What inspired you to take these actions?
A: Well I just told you probably our biggest one, but a guy came and showed me this part that cost $4 and I was able to direct him to a part that cost only about 50 cents to make. So it saved him a bit of money. That is the idea of sustainability. If everyone thinks about what they are throwing away, if they consciously make every move count, then they will be sustainable. You know what I’m really bad at is I still throw trash or paper away that I shouldn’t because I don’t trust in my head that it really matters. It’s not environmentally sustainable, but it’s hard for me to break that habit. I should consciously put every piece of paper away and take every piece of metal and do the extra effort and recycle it properly.

Q: What advice/tips would you offer to other business owners who are interested in adopting sustainable initiatives?
A: I would say just think about what you’re doing and try your very best to really recycle as much as you can. Then, what you do recycle, think about what how much you are wasting or recycling and come to you own conclusions about what to do.


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Emily Belle is a second year Environmental Studies major at Oberlin College. Originally from Ithaca, New York, she loves waterfalls, woodland adventures, and growing and eating tasty food. Emily works in the Oberlin community as a Bonner Leader and America Reads Tutor.


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