It was a sunny day in Chico, when I arrived at the home and workshop of Zeke Lunder and his wife Erika. In their workshop, I was amazed to see industrial sewing machines set up below spools of discarded fire hoses of all sizes.When Zeke met Erika in 2007, their co-owned business Zeeko Salvage was born. Since that time, they have been busy creating messenger bags, purses, tool bags, motorcycle bags, billfolds, backpacks, fanny packs, and much more. What is unusual about what they produce is that it is all made from material that others throw away. Some of these items include: discarded fire hoses, old tarps, industrial textiles, old outdoor furniture, garden tools, discarded caps, aprons, inner tubes, canvas and even a trampoline.
The use of these materials relates to a philosophy of life that this couple shares. To them, it is important to stop throwing away things that break or wear out, and instead, restore the items or make something new out of them. Zeke sees a real need for thrift in this new economy and one way is to reuse what we already have. By doing so, the local economy has yet another way to rebuild itself. They are open to taking used materials or fixing what needs to be fixed.
Zeeko Salvage sells its goods at the 360 Ecotique at 5th and Main, Chico, and at the Chico holiday craft fair known as the Bizarre Bazaar, held on December 15th at the Chico Women’s Club. They can also be reached on-line at Zeekosalvage.com.
Zeeko Salvage is a part of this family’s main business, Deer Creek Resources, which also creates maps of wildfires both locally and in several adjoining states. Zeke is the operations chief and Erika does the administrative tasks. Getting his start in geography and graphics at Chico State University, Zeke received a degree in Cartography and has worked with the Forest Service, mapping erosion on Forest Service roads before beginning to map wildfires in 2000. Their company provides manpower and trailers with computer systems and all other necessary equipment to go into the field and work with fire crews. You may have seen their maps during last summer’s Chip’s fire.
Chico has been a great place for Zeke and Erika for the last 20 years. While raising their two young boys, it is where they utilize their great creativity in their small business, connect with other crafters, and work together in community with like minded people. To contact Zeke and Erika, go to ZeekoSalvage.com.