Category Archives: 1

The Art of Ambience

When it comes to “being sustainable,” it doesn’t hurt to think creatively about your business mission.  Or about your business ambience!

How exactly can your business spruce up its interior and/or exterior in an environmentally-friendly way? 


Renewal through Reuse and Restoration

Everyone has ’em:  those half-empty, dust-collecting cans of paint lurking in your basement might be just the ticket to spruce up your storefront, fence posts or benches on your property, or borders and trim inside your store.  Re-use trumps “responsible disposal,” and you can’t beat the price of FREE.

Or, look into a VOC-free paint supplier like Green Planet Paints, a company producing non-petroleum based paint free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). 

Visiting sites like, and seasonal flee markets and garage sales, increases your chances of finding furniture and fixtures at a cheap price.  With a bit of care, antique infrastructure adds character to your business ambience and proves functional at the same time!

Old cloth and sheets may prove useful as drapes and wall coverings, improving insulation, blocking out blinding sun, and offering a more comfortable feel to shops and restaurants.

Local Artists

Community murals flanking businesses and vacant lots in the Trail Towns add color and character to an otherwise unnoticed spot; they evoke town pride and vision.  Artist Carolyn Quinn worked in Meyersdale to create an extensive mural depicting Meyersdale heritage.  Consider approaching a local artist to design a collage for your community.  Public art often draws the attention of passersby, which could mean improved sales for your business!

In addition, local artwork doesn’t travel hundreds of miles to keep your business furnished and festive.  Turning bare walls into a mini-gallery supports the arts in your community and usually involves a partnership free of price tags.  A neighborhood coffee shop in Pittsburgh called “Make Your Mark” highlights local artists on its walls and in a gallery above the dining space, as well as offering the occasional art class and live musical concert.

 Check out this blog about sustainable interior design to read more ideas.  Maximize your business flair… you’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to creative re-use and local design!

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Filed under 1, Creative re-use, inspiration, reuse

Money *Might* Grow on Trees

Attract More Business With Some Natural Landscaping

With the tangible advance of spring, the ground begins to thaw and gardeners young and old are digging around in the dirt, anxious to begin the growing season.  Business owners may want to engage their inner-gardeners as well, because studies repeatedly show that tree-lined, flower-studded sidewalks and storefronts attract more customers and keep them around longer.

If a vacant lot borders your property, you might also consider sprucing it up with simple raised flower beds, perennial wildflower seeds, a hedge row, a small tree and a simple wooden bench, or a couple large planters.

Explore the following resources to determine which trees, flowers, and shrubs are appropriate for your store.

Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest. Discussion of native trees and care in an urban setting.

Yellow Pages Site of Nurseries in Connellsville. List of nurseries of where to purchase or call for advice.  Change the search location as needed.

PA Trees. How to choose the right tree.

Sustainable and Urban Gardening. All-Native Lawnless Gardens for Pennsylvania.

Please feel free to share similar resources as well as good nurseries in your area.

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Filed under 1, Business, Retailers

Trail Town Outreach Corps: Your Friendly Neighborhood Business Resource

As the sun comes out and the Everest-like snow piles begin to melt, it’s clear that we are at the beginning of another season out on the trail! Spring cleaning is officially upon us, so besides having time to dust off your shelves and spruce up your window displays, it is equally as important to reassess  how to cut down on your monthly overhead. And surprise, surprise! Being green can help you accomplish this.

Simple steps to cut down overhead include:

-turning lights off when you leave the room

power strips when not in use can be turned off

-lowering the thermostat down after work hours

-using compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent

We already have some great ideas for lowering your monthly overhead and simultaneously becoming a more sustainable business archived right here in the GAP SBN blog all available as a resource for your perusal. Also, we at the Trail Town Outreach Corps want to remind you that we are another valuable resource available to help you research sustainable practices, help you write grant applications, or find you the assistance you need to make your sustainable business vision a reality!

Also, please remember that the GAP Sustainable Business Network is a place for you, the forward-thinking local businesses along the trail, to engage in dialogue as a community about how to better your sustainable business practices by sharing new ideas, detailing your own challenges, or reaching out for assistance.

This is your network to build as you see fit so be sure to make the most of it!

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Filed under 1, B&Bs, Business, Green on the GAP, Outdoor/Bicycle Outfitters, Resources, Restaurants, Retailers, Triple bottom line