Building From the Beauty of Moab

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It is a land practically before time itself. Sand, rich in color and fine in texture, skims across rock carved by millions of years of winds howling back and forth, day and night. The pressure of a foot on the gas pedal propels you across the graves of long-ago creatures—insects, bison, even dinosaurs—out of sight for millennia. But one man still sees the potential in the history of this desert dreamscape. In fact, he has turned his passion for nature into an art-driven business that pays tribute to the surrounding land.

An environmentalist may not be your idea of a typical entrepreneur. But when it comes building to a sustainable business model like that of Triassic in Moab, in this case, an advocate for the environment has precisely the right vision. Scott Anderson, owner of Triassic, began with a simple concept. He takes wood cleared through his tree removal service, as well as locally excavated dinosaur bones and Triassic-era fossils, and crafts them into one-of-a-kind, responsibly sourced furniture that reflects the natural majesty of Moab.

It all started at the local farmers’ market, where Scott initially began selling handmade stone pendants. The name Triassic ties back to these early roots, reflecting the type of stone that Scott was selling at the time. “The alabaster and fossils we use come from that time period,” Scott says. “As our market expanded into wood, the name just stuck.”

Scott has always been interested in the world around him. With Triassic, he has the opportunity to apply his extensive knowledge of his surroundings to the art of design. “I’m looking to change the way that people do business,” Scott says. “The typical approach is to cut all the trees down; we value what would have essentially been the waste.”

Scott considers this “waste” to be salvaged materials. Using this idea for the basis of his business, Scott has effectively merged the idea of a traditional tree service—where problematic trees are safely removed at the owner’s request— then handcrafts the components into upscale home furniture derived directly from the Moab area. “Dollar for dollar, labor for labor, we can make the same product as other high-end furniture designers, just with a tree that wasn’t cut down in a rainforest,” Scott says. By sourcing locally and using the entire tree, the craftsmen at Triassic create products their customers can feel good about.

Over time, Scott noticed that people around the farmer’s market were increasingly interested in his process, especially when he was actively working behind the table. When word got out that he was using salvaged materials, everything really started to change. “People would say ‘Oh, I’ve got an apricot tree that died’ and I’d go cut it down. Finally, it just made sense to get paid to do the actual tree removal,” adds Scott.

Staffing the right team, one with the vision to draw out the best in the area’s natural resources, also requires a willingness to see potential in oft-overlooked traits. “We find that attitude and enthusiasm is a better predictor of people’s success than anything,” says Scott. And with a goal to use one hundred percent of the wood Triassic sources, to the staff, success often means getting pretty creative.

To use the art of butchering as an analogy, “Each tree is good for something, but not everything is going to be prime rib, top sirloin or filet mignon,” says Scott. “But at the same time, there’s some good meat that can be made into hamburger. You’ve just got to find it.” With this mentality, “leftovers” from the furniture construction find their own forms: smaller limbs become household items, and twigs and unusually-shaped pieces take on new life a jewelry. Even wood chips can find their way back into the community as mulch, so ideally, nothing is wasted along the way.“I really believe that we’re going to improve the land and hopefully leave it better than we found it,” says Scott.

We got to know Scott and his team and witnessed their artistry firsthand while touring Moab in the Lincoln MKX. For more information, please visit us here.

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