National Telework Week: corporate America committing to environmentally-friendly initiatives

March 5th, 2013 by TRT Blog

As a company that prides itself on providing our government, higher education and hospitality clients with cost effective, innovative ways to enhance sustainability, celebrating and supporting environmentally-friendly initiatives is important to us.

National Telework WeekOne particular initiative that we’ve discussed on our blog before is National Telework Week, and yesterday marked the start of the event’s 3rd year anniversary. Brought to you by Telework Exchange and Cisco, employees vow to work from home during the entire week in order to aide in minimizing their individual and our nation’s carbon footprint.

Last year, more than 71,000 people pledged to work from home for the first week of March, ultimately saving the planet $5,651,890, 3,453 tons of air pollutant, and 6,413,006 miles of gas fumes.  Telework Research Network found that on average 20 to 30 million people work from home at least one day a week, while 3.1 million work from home full time – and if these figures continue to increase, carbon emissions will continue to decrease.

While employers may be weary of letting their staff work from home, studies have shown that not only will productivity increase but so will revenue – big time. Each employee that no longer makes the trip into the office will cut bills in half, resulting in savings worth thousands.

Teleworking was reportedly conceptualized back in the 1990’s during the Information Age when personal computers and high technology advancements really took hold. Then in 2010, President Obama declared his support by signing the Telework Enhancement Act, an act requiring Federal agencies to create policies for teleworkers, and Telework Week was officially born.

The idea of teleworking has its critics, but for one week negative connotations can, and should, be put aside for the greater good. The five-day event not only reduces waste for the week, but brings wide-spread awareness to the pollution problem that affects our planet every day, a critical first step towards improving our environmental future.

To join the movement and take the pledge, click here.  To learn more about how The Refinishing Touch is helping our clients reduce their environmental impact through furniture asset management solutions such as refinishing, re-upholstering and remanufacturing, visit our website:


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Responsible Tourism Day: Thoughts and hopes for the future

November 16th, 2012 by TRT Blog

“Sustainable practices navigate successfully through time and space, while others crack up and vanish.” – Bruce Sterling

Responsible Tourism DayLast week travel operators, hospitality organizations and professionals celebrated Responsible Tourism Day, an event introduced five years ago by the World Travel Market (WTM) Responsible Tourism Day and supported by UNWTO. Its vision includes several key elements: bring the travel and hospitality industries together to educate travelers on responsible behavior; explore how travel destinations can be more sustainable; and best practices to encourage the debate and drive change of key environmental-related issues.

One of the most interesting aspects of this event and movement is it provides different individuals and groups the opportunity to drive a range of positive messages, helping take the tourism and hospitality industry forward.  To show the breadth of these messages, each driven by an individual interpretation of ‘responsible’, here are a few items that caught our eye:

– An interesting post from Harold Goodwin, professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University and founding member of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, created at the first World Responsible Tourism Day.  Professor Goodwin discusses how the responsible tourism movement has developed to cover all forms of tourism – including individuals with disabilities or limited financial means – and has worked to “escape the tiny ecotourism niche”.

– In a news story titled ‘Responsible Tourism Day: Ban plastic bags for a healthier environment’, Pakistan’s The Express Tribune, associated with the International Herald Tribune, wrote about high school students in the region who went around to local shops asking them to stop using plastic bags. The students also joined local government officials in a walk, holding placards which said: “Say No to Plastic Bags”.  According to The Tribune, 500 million plastic bags are used each year, and it takes between 60 to 100 million barrels of oil to make those bags. It’s estimated that it takes 10,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose.

– In a passionate blog post on The Travel Word, Ethan Gelber encourages individuals to get involved and take action, highlighting how sustainable, responsible practices are common across so many industries. Gelber notes that while there are still challenges, unsustainable practices are frequently being replaced in the travel industry.

As a team that has been encouraging, challenging and enabling sustainable practices across the hospitality, government and education sectors for the last 35 years, we couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of these articles and the mission behind Responsible Tourism Day. We hope that individuals and organizations alike will continue to embrace responsible, environmentally-friendly actions, and that sustainable education remains at the forefront of change.

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Trade show roundup: The Refinishing Touch attends three conferences during October

October 26th, 2012 by TRT Blog

The Refinishing Touch team has remained busy throughout the month of October – not only have we been preparing the third quarter edition of our digital newsletter, InTouch, but we’ve also been attending various tradeshows all across the nation.

The month kicked off with the 10th annual ACUHO-I / APPA Housing Facilities Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 2nd through the 6th. The trade show was held at the Hyatt Regency and Convention Center (a brand we’ve worked with before), with more than 250 attendees from colleges and universities joining together to discuss sustainability.

The Refinishing Touch spent most of the event networking with key decision makers and speakers, along with learning about the future of housing in the higher education sector. Several attendees expressed an interest in refinishing, one of our specialties, and it’s easy to understand why – our furniture asset management services can save up to 90 percent of a project’s estimated carbon emission output and 80 percent of a company’s budget when compared to buying new.The Refinishing Touch tradeshow events

Our next stop brought us to booming Las Vegas, where we attended the Best Western International Conference & Trade Show on October 10th. Over 2,000 owners, general managers and property management companies gathered at the conference, giving us great insight into the current and future direction of the hospitality industry. While there, The Refinishing Touch connected with potential prospects and attended a Supplier Training Course, where we learned how to navigate through Best Western’s supplier site and effectively use the brand’s templates. To top it all off, the event raffled off 65 Apple iPads and several other great prizes.

If that weren’t enough, next we headed out to BITAC West at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, California. While there, our team held 22 face-to-face meetings throughout two full days. Over the years, we’ve found one of the most rewarding aspects of tradeshows is being able to convey the benefits of our sustainable furniture asset management services to past, current and potential customers, alike. During the second day of the three-day event, The Refinishing Touch president and founder, Mario Insenga, gave an informative speech during lunch hour. Our favorite line was, “Remember: the last three letters in trend are ‘e-n-d’”. This couldn’t be more true of the hospitality industry, which has seen its fair share of trends come and go, especially through the recession and recovery.

Were you at any of these trade shows during the month? We’d love to hear your thoughts and takeaways! Send us an email at

For future event listings, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter by visiting: The next edition is coming soon!

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Operational Update: Marriott Charlotte City Center

September 7th, 2012 by TRT Blog

As everyone in the country knows, our nation is in full election swing – including one of the properties we are currently working on, the Marriott Charlotte City Center. Known for its central Charlotte, North Carolina downtown location and the current $10 million renovation project it is going through, the hotel is also hosting 300 Florida delegates attending the Democratic National Convention this week. The Refinishing Touch reupholsters banquet chairs at the Marriott Charlotte City Center

In order to prepare for the big event, which will bring 6,000 total delegates to 56 hotels, the Marriott brought in The Refinishing Touch team to reupholster 842 banquet chairs with our customized fabric line, Touch Textiles in August and will complete the projects upon the close of the Convention. Through our furniture asset management services, we are able to save the Marriott Charlotte City Center approximately 80 percent on budget and 90 percent on carbon emissions when compared to buying new.

In addition to reupholstering banquet chairs during its wide-spread renovations, the Marriott Charlotte City Center has also overhauled its Internet services, updated its TV to LCDs, and brought in all new Marriott Revive beds. The hotel is also prized for its fine dining, proximity to local attractions and large meeting spaces, including a 20,000 square foot meeting space.

For more information on this project, please continue to check our blog for the latest updates, as we will provide a complete overview of the project upon its completion. To learn more about The Refinishing Touch’s furniture asset management services, visit our website at

To find out more about the Marriott Charlotte City Center’s renovation project, or to book your next stay, visit their homepage here.

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Push to regulate toxic chemicals reaches the Senate

August 17th, 2012 by TRT Blog

Here at The Refinishing Touch, we take pride in our innovative, award-winning furniture refinishing processes. All of the lacquers we use are clean, non-toxic and non-flammable – ultimately allowing us to complete all refinishing services on-site, ensuring a safe, healthy environment throughout our project locations.

Hazardous chemicals are more prevalent than most people realize, making their way into millions of buildings across the nation, even during today’s health-conscious movement. Toxic stain protectors can be found in fabrics and textiles, which upholster public seating areas, while formaldehyde and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) lurk in common finishing lacquers across the market.

Fortunately, progress has been made in the battle for chemical regulations. Since 2003, 30 states have passed more than 150 policies to ban toxic chemicals, according to a recent article in The Huffington Post. A push for a national ‘Safe Chemicals Act’ grabbed headlines last month, making its way to the US Senate Environment and Public Works committee in late July.

Until regulations are implemented, consumers have been turning to other alternatives. The Refinishing Touch’s furniture refinishing process guarantees indoor air quality and safety for both our technicians, and a business’s guests and employees. Our non-toxic lacquers are free of VOCs, making them hypoallergenic, clean, and safe. And because of our innovate services, our environmentally-friendly refinishing alternatives have been implemented by the government, universities and hotels across the nation.

For more information on the Safe Chemicals Act, click here. To find out more about The Refinishing Touch’s sustainable, environmentally-conscious refinishing techniques, visit

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The Refinishing Touch attends ACUHO and BITAC East

August 3rd, 2012 by TRT Blog

Here at The Refinishing Touch, we always enjoy attending industry events because they allow us to meet other vendors, catch up with past customers, and connect with new, promising contacts. And last month was no exception – we spent a good portion of July flying across the country to attend ACUHO (Association of College and University Housing Officers – International) in Anaheim, CA and BITAC East in Hollywood, FL.

Our whirl-wind month began in Anaheim on July 7th. The ACUHO event was held at the Orange County Convention Center and kicked off on Friday night with a group outing to the Angels baseball game. The next day, in spirit of the event’s theme of ‘Going Green’, we were able to speak with both newcomers and long-time ACUHO participants on the positive environmental impact that our services provide. While we attend the ACUHO event annually, this year it was great to see a large number of first-time attendees.

Next, we traveled to Florida for the BITAC East event, beginning on July 22nd. We started the event with a wonderful dinner and networking session where we got to meet potential customers who are eager to get renovation projects in the pipeline. We also had the pleasure of speaking during Monday’s lunch about the financial and environmental benefits of furniture asset management – we even gave away ‘office dirt’, a little can of grass to brighten up any office desk.

Finally, we participated in The Peanut Butter & Jelly Challenge, an event-wide charity effort that provides sandwiches for needy individuals and families. This year the BITAC event helped feed over 1,600 people.

Now that these two events are complete, The Refinishing Touch is looking forward to connecting with the people we had the pleasure of meeting, while continuing to save our customers money and carbon emissions by embracing furniture asset management services.

Were you at the ACUHO and BITAC events this past month and didn’t get the chance to speak with us? Send us an email at We would love to connect!

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Sustainability makes its mark at the 2012 Summer Olympics

July 20th, 2012 by TRT Blog

Like many around the world, The Refinishing Touch team is counting down the days until the 2012 Summer Olympics, and we have officially reached the one week mark!

The summer event – which is held once every four years – means more to us this year than ever before.  That’s because the 500-acre Olympic Park venue, based in London, has earned the honor of hosting the ‘first sustainable Olympics’, and we are thrilled.

The efforts from the Olympic planning committee are proof of the increased importance placed on sustainability, especially in today’s world.  Designers of the Olympic Park took many measures to create the greenest stadium possible, including:

– Constructing the Park out of recycled materials

– Building the velodrome (track cycle arena) using sustainable wood

– Cleaning up any contaminated water and soil on the Park’s site

– Planting more than 300,000 wetland plants and nearly 4,000 trees

– Hiring food vendors that only utilize compostable packaging

– Testing a new waste management system that, if successful, can make its way into every future sporting event

As a sustainable furniture asset management company, we believe eco-friendly initiatives are critical to reduce our carbon footprint and preserve our environment, especially at events as widely influential as the Olympic.  So this year, not only will The Refinishing Touch be cheering on the United States as they compete for the gold, but we will also be applauding the historic behind-the-scenes sustainable efforts that are also making an enormous mark on the 2012 games.

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Only four days left until the Hotel Interactive webcast, sponsored by The Refinishing Touch

July 13th, 2012 by TRT Blog

Here at The Refinishing Touch, we are greatly anticipating our upcoming Hotel Interactive webcast: Pressure Free PIPs, on Tuesday, July 17, 2 PM EST.  Watch us as we team up with experts from the industry to discuss a costly issue that has been plaguing our hospitality customers – Product Improvement Plans (PIPs).

As we discussed in an earlier blog post, PIPs are mandatory renovations and updates required by corporate brand owners for franchised owners.  As if PIPs weren’t enough of a burden, major lodging brands are now pushing last minute hotel renovations in order to increase room prices and profit from this summer’s increase of travelers and tourists.

This leaves many hoteliers asking the same question – what’s the solution? How do we meet customer and brand satisfaction, without breaking the bank?

The answer and various solutions will be discussed during the live webinar, as the expert panel gives advice on smart and savvy ways to maximize renovation impact at a cost that will minimize debt.

So don’t let PIPs become a problem.  Join us on Tuesday, July 17, at 2 PM EST for all of the solutions, and don’t forget to register for the webcast today!

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Sustainability and tourism interconnected at Rio+20 Earth Summit 2012

July 10th, 2012 by TRT Blog

Countries from around the world gathered at the Rio+20 Earth Summit 2012As a sustainable furniture asset management company with a strong focus in the hospitality, government and higher education industries, we’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the three pillars of sustainability and how to properly encourage and achieve sustainable development.

The three pillars of sustainability are social, environmental and economic – and many sustainability experts believe that all three pillars must be developed and strengthened simultaneously, as a whole, to combat the sustainability problem successfully.

The most recent Rio+20 Earth Summit, held June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro, focused on two main themes: “a green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development, and an institutional framework for sustainable development.” One of the Summit’s side events, ‘Tourism for a Sustainable Future’, discussed these themes in great detail and concluded that tourism can be a key contributor to the three pillars.

Maurice Strong, former Earth Summit Secretary-General, said: “[Tourism] has a real interest in protecting the environment and a huge potential for the green economy as its assets are the ones we need to preserve and enhance.”

This sentiment resonates with The Refinishing Touch team, as our primary goals focus around reducing tree harvesting, reducing landfill waste, and preserving our natural resources. Having worked with some of the world’s largest hotel brands, including Starwood, Hilton, and Marriott, we understand how tourism can not only promote local jobs and economic growth, but also encourage greater care and appreciation for local environments and natural resources.

We hope that tourism, as travelers become more environmentally-conscious, will continue to be a driving force in increased sustainable development and awareness.

For more information on the Rio+20 Earth Summit, go here. For more information on how furniture asset management can help your organization save money and the environment, visit our website at

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Red, White & Blue … and Green

July 3rd, 2012 by TRT Blog

The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to have cookouts, watch fireworks and enjoy time off with family and friends. All are wonderful ways to celebrate and mark such an important day in U.S. history.

The Refinishing Touch celebrates the Fourth of JulyIn much the same way, here at The Refinishing Touch, we help our clients — such as Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott hotels, the U.S. Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force and other government agencies, and universities across the country — become independent from furniture replacement costs, significant room downtime and from causing further environmental damage. On the Fourth of July, we always feel especially proud to have been founded in such a great country, and strive to continue our long-standing goals of helping our clients achieve eco-friendly objectives with attractive, up-to-date, functional furnishings.

Our unique on-site, non-toxic refinishing services of existing furniture assets such as arm chairs, sofas, nightstands and dressers is quick, environmentally-friendly and truly transformative. It’s a welcomed option for budget-conscious businesses looking to revamp and be kind to Mother Nature.

This Fourth of July, in addition to joining together as a united nation, we also want to extent our deepest appreciate to all of our independent-minded clients who we have the pleasure of working with, thank you.

Enjoy time with your loved ones over the holiday — and don’t let the burgers stay on the grill too long!

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