Traverse City Man Turns Dead Trees Into Treasure

It all started while he was giving a tour of a rainforest in Brazil.

A tree that had become a landmark and signature photo opp — fell down and he couldn’t see it go to waste.

These pieces of wood all have something in common.

They come from trees that are dying, dead, or down.

Rare Earth Hardwoods doesn’t cut down any live trees for wood to make any of their products. 

“That’s been my whole focus through my 30 something years is so that I can utilize what’s commonly wasted,” said President of Rare Earth Hardwoods, Rick Paid. 

The company works out of Traverse City and Brazil.

The 2000 acres of effervescent virgin rainforest in Brazil was about to be cleared to become a soybean field.

Rick couldn’t stand to see that happen — so he bought it.

“Well I just ya know did what I had to do at the time,” he said. “I had the money so I bought so I could keep it from that happening to it.”

It wasn’t necessarily an easy purchase, though.

“I could have done other things with the money,” Rick said. “So I made sacrifices.”

Rick says it was a turning point in his life.

“Since then I’ve become a minimalist — I don’t really need a lot of stuff,” he said.

So he hopes that people have a deeper appreciation for our natural resources, and that they realize that these beautiful decks, cabinets, and floors could come from something dying, dead, or down — just like their motto says.

“We sell some things that you think no one can make anything out of it,” Rick said. “People that are really artistic can do some incredible things with something that looks like junk to another person.”

The Rare Earth Hardwoods physical store is closing so they’re having a liquidation sale on Saturday, August 19th.

But – their merchandise can still be purchased on their website – click here.

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