gmhTODAY 18 gmhToday Feb March 2018 - Page 18

COMMUNICATIONS Terra Amico: A Friend to the Earth Written By Jordan Rosenfield I nside the wood shop of San Martin’s Terra Amico, four dogs emerge from their sleepy spots between wood piles and under tables laden with industrial saws and works in progress. Happy music accompanies the whine of saws, and employees stop what they’re doing to wave and smile as I’m given a tour by owners Joe and Lisa Ranieri of their furniture design and woodworking business, Terra Amico in San Martin. It doesn’t just feel like a family operation, it is one. The Ranieri’s are grooming their 24-year-old son Trevor, who helps out, to take over one day. Their thirty-odd contractors and employees are free to bring their dogs to work in the laidback environment. Terra Amico is relatively new to San Martin, but it’s been around for seven-plus years, during which the business has undergone dramatic changes. “I started it in my backyard,” Joe explained. “I had some old wood I’d taken from a project at Silver Creek Country 18 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Club that I designed and built a table out of.” The table sat in the Ranieri’s yard for some years until Joe finally put it up on Craigslist. It sold that same day and spawned a series of similar requests he could barely keep up with fulfilling. Before that, Joe, a LEED-certified green builder, had spent many successful years in real estate. After the fallout from the 2008 market crash and recession, in which they lost a lot of money, work opportunities were drying up. “I had a lot of wood and we decided to see what we could build out of it. We’d done a lot of flipping properties, but the furniture thing was a whole new game for us,” Joe said. The Rainieri’s believe in sustainability and keeping materials out of landfills. In fact the business name, Terra Amico, means “earth friend” in Italian—which is Joe’s heritage. “We’ve accumulated a lot of stuff that might look like garbage,” their son Trevor said during our small tour, “But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018