ANIAN is a Canadian manufacturer of clothing and coastal gear based in Victoria, BC, and while their custom surfboards (made on-site) and groovy apparel are the highlight of their business, the really exciting feature is the store itself. Built almost entirely out of reclaimed materials, the shop runs entirely on solar power and is Canada's first completely off-grid store.
The store was constructed on a vacant lot that was previously used as a dumpster staging area, transforming an un-used space into a vibrant store, music venue and work shop. The store is housed within three buildings: a showroom, a workshop and a shipping container. Owners Paul and Nick built the off-grid store by collecting construction waste, discarded goods and reclaimed materials and then took the entire thing off-grid using four 250-watt solar panels.
Almost all the wood for the shop, decks, front fence, stage and shop displays came exclusively from a blimp hangar used in the Second World War, which was being stored at a wood mill on the Saanich Peninsula. The wood had been sitting unused, so the duo jumped on it, renting a U-Haul to lug the entire pile of tongue-and-groove lumber away. Wall insulation was taken from renovations around town and the roof shingles are discards taken from a mill that manufactures shingles. The workshop door was found in a junk yard after being taken off of a greenhouse and other doors were found here are there, abandoned as junk. The windows for the buildings were bought online from people who had them leftover from home renovations.
Even the landscaping around the shop was reclaimed – the trees were taken from a yard after a homeowner told the duo they could have the trees if they were willing to dig them up. So Paul and Nick got to digging, transporting the 8-foot-plus trees in the back of Paul’s van. The landscaping rocks were also loaded into the van, taken from a yard where they were no longer needed.
Just about the only new items in the shop are the paint, screws, some insulation, and a skylight. And although the shop lacks heating, which can mean some chilly winter days, Paul says that “when you get a sunny day in January [the shop is] truly the best place to be.”
The shop includes a water catch to re-use the water that runs off the roof, which is stored in reclaimed garbage cans. According to Paul, the whole process taught them one major rule about building: “Never roof and drink, especially in a climate that rains 8 months of the year.” Words to live by.