Barefoot Appraisers Treading Lightly

The rain barrel is four-fifths of the way full and the Cadillac golf cart parked outside Barefoot Appraisal Co. on Key West’s United Street are tell-tale signs the 14-year-old company is run by earth-friendly folks.

“There’s a gutter, and it collects rainwater. We attach a hose to it and water the plants. Inside we keep the temperature at 78 degrees, pull the shades to keep the heat out; we print the least amount of paper as possible, recycle all the paper we do print and the lights are LED,” says owner Vicki Gordon.

In 2008, Barefoot Appraisal was voted “Greenest Business in the Keys,” by Green Living & Energy and Education (GLEE). Gordon had put the brakes on fuel consumption and invested in a Cadillac electric golf cart to cruise and meet potential property owners without emitting any emissions, and her employees rode bikes.

Craig and Vicki cruise to clients the green way either on bikes or in the electric Cadillac. Craig's partner catches a ride!

She recalls, “Three or four appraisers were riding bicycles everywhere trying to be ‘green’.”

One of those employees is Craig Martin who started as an office manager at the age of 26 and showed Gordon and his colleagues he was “bright” and ready to obtain his license and tackle his own appraisal projects.

“They hire us to buy, to refinance, just to look, for inquiries to compare properties and come up with a number,” Craig outlines how the company operates.

He’s now appraising properties “up the Keys,” and has to drive a “big boy” car – a combustible four-cylinder – to reach his destination. While in town, he puts his beloved dog, Oliver Twisted Martin, in a basket and beats the traffic congestion.

The shades are pulled to keep the sunshine out and the a/c use to a minimum. Recycling bins for paper the company has to print are on the floor. The walls however are plastered with philanthropic awards in Gordon’s office including her Honorary Conch Certificate, Paul Harris Fellowship Award, for sponsoring Debo Dingler’s classroom, and the most notorious: Green Queen of Fantasy Fest 2009!

While appropriately sitting barefoot next to the Key West Weekly, he admits he is concerned about what could happen to the island if the humans are not cautious.

[pullquote]“I’m going to be here another 60 plus years, and I want to make sure the earth is clean, green, and happy!” Martin said. “I don’t want to be living in pollution.”[/pullquote]

Gordon, who Craig considers his “work mother” has taken business ownership and invested right back into the community.

This mother of two, (daughter Jennifer and son Huntly), grandmother of four (Seth, Lillian, Isabella, and Ava Claire) also serves on the boards for Sister Season Fund, Wesley House Children and Family Services, the AIDS Memorial and Committee for Hospice/VNA.

Most notably, Vicki is the Green Queen of Fantasy Fest 2009. She donned a green wig and touted the importance to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot all the way to the front of the world-renowned parade.

In addition to that crown you should note she’s also an Aqua Idol champion. Here’s her idea for reusing aluminum foil:

“We made up words to ‘Tic Toc’ and wore our hats sideways and took the aluminum foil and made grills for our teeth,” Gordon laughs about the fun, and the Barefoot Appraisers look at their bare feet.

Hey…whatever you have to do to have an impact in your community, lessen your environmental impact and leave a small, small carbon footprint!

Barefoot Appraisal Company is located in Old Town Key West at 615 United Street, they have a Facebook page, a blog, and are online. Craig and Vicki can be reached at (305) 293-6657.


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