Fortress® Railing Case Study
Property: Rethreaded Campus
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Products: Infinity® I-Series Composite Decking and Al13 PLUS™ Aluminum Railing
Kristin Keen is changing the world. The passionate philanthropist is the founder and CEO of Rethreaded, a social enterprise and purposeful gift company that employs, trains and reignites hope in survivors of human trafficking. The fearless leader founded the Jacksonville, Florida-based organization on the principle that women need a safe work environment where they can earn an income and experience continued healing.
Since it came into existence over a decade ago, Rethreaded operations have grown significantly due in large part to Kristin’s outreach efforts, which have drawn support from purpose-driven shoppers, volunteers, donors and corporate partners. To accommodate its growth and add much needed floor space, in late 2021 Rethreaded opened a new 2-acre campus, dubbed the Delores Barr Weaver Campus of Hope. With 36,000 square feet of usable indoor space, Kristin and her team now offer additional employment opportunities in the Rethreaded gift shop, host job training in retail, shipping logistics, sewing and warehouse management, and provide access to case management services and mental health counseling.
While thrilled for a new campus that quadruples Rethreaded’s capacity to support survivors of human trafficking, Kristin initially had little hope for the neglected outdoor space behind one of the warehouses. Difficult to access and overgrown with grass and weeds, original drawings called for a small, humble deck that didn’t provide much in the way of function or aesthetics.
Then Kristin was introduced to the team at Fortress Building Products.
Fueled by a shared vision for the future, Fortress Building Products and Rethreaded team up
Like Rethreaded, Fortress Building Products operates on the firm belief that when the world is a better place, we all win. The two organizations—though wildly different in product output—are equally passionate about leading positive change on both a local and global scale. “We often talk about the power of using business for good,” said Kristin. “I love meeting business owners that will use their business and its platforms to change the world.”
Inspired by Rethreaded’s bold advocacy of human trafficking awareness and prevention, the team at Fortress Building Products knew they wanted to partner with the like-minded, people focused organization. What better way for the outdoor building products manufacturer to get involved than to bring the facility’s designated outdoor living zone to completion?
“It’s been a privilege to partner with Rethreaded and provide the materials needed to create a beautiful, long-lasting outdoor space,” said Toby Bostwick, Vice President of Product & Brand at Fortress Building Products. “The finished project is actually something that’s much more than an ordinary deck—it’s a safe, supportive environment for survivors of human trafficking to begin the difficult healing process.”
Building a purposeful outdoor living space with wood-alternative solutions
While Kristin and her team were thrilled to work with Fortress Building Products to create an outdoor living space, they didn’t know the extent of the donation until the construction of the 2,000 square foot deck was near completion. Far larger than the small platform deck she had originally envisioned, the sprawling bamboo-based composite deck maximizes the potential of the entire outdoor space behind the warehouse.
Aesthetically beautiful and durable, capped bamboo-plastic composite decking from Fortress Building Products emulates the natural wood grain patterns that traditional deck boards provide, but will not warp, crack, fade or deteriorate over time. Its rich, chocolate-colored boards provide visual distinction against the industrial look of the warehouse roof, siding and the commercial garage door that connects the outdoors to the indoors.
An ideal decking solution for Jacksonville’s subtropical climate and frequent thunderstorms, bamboo-based composites are engineered to defend against water infiltration while also offering slip-resistance and first-rate protection against heat. Because the wood-alternative decking solution defends against moisture, UV rays and the effects of weathering, it will maintain its vibrant aesthetic for years—no staining required from the Rethreaded staff.
The Al¹³ PLUS commercial and residential aluminum railing in black from Fortress Building Products encloses the expansive deck in effortless style. A smart railing material for coastal states, aluminum is not susceptible to corrosion or rust, which means Al¹³ PLUS can weather the toughest Florida storms without splintering or warping like traditional wood railing. Dressed in a multi-layered, anti-corrosion powder coating, it also makes for a low-maintenance outdoor solution that will maintain its timeless beauty for decades.
The reimagined outdoor living space behind the Rethreaded warehouse, complete with wood-alternative decking and railing from Fortress Building Products, is the perfect complement to the comprehensive list of services that Rethreaded provides for survivors of human trafficking. It will offer a necessary, peaceful environment for women to build friendships, attend counseling sessions and rediscover their identify and self-worth. “I could have never imagined we’d have this beautiful, safe space that inspires people—it’s where the impossible can be made possible,” said Kristin.
Healing process starts with two feet firmly planted on the deck
With vibrant, resilient decking under their feet and a strong railing system to lean on, Fortress Building Products hopes to play a small role in every survivor’s healing process. “I am so thankful for Fortress Building Products because they built us something that I know is going to leave a mark on the hundreds of women that walk through our doors,” said Kristin.
Support anti-trafficking efforts by visiting shop.rethreaded.com. Each purchase of a handmade good provides job training and holistic services for survivors of human trafficking. Learn about other ways to get involved at rethreaded.com.