Solar Pushcart An Outlet For Local Artists

Asheville, N.C.-based Spiritex, founded in 2003, sells locally made organic cotton tees with unique designs; some are Asheville-themed, and some feature the work of local artists. With two stores in the Asheville area, they decided it was time to take their products to the streets to promote not only their business, but the concepts of renewable energy and sustainability as well.

Enter the Spiritex solar powered street cart, a moveable kiosk powered entirely by the sun that was featured recently by Mountain Express, a local weekly. Three solar units on the cart’s roof absorb sunlight during the day. The power generated lights the cart at night, charges an iPhone that is used to accept credit cards and manage inventory, and drives a fan that helps keep the staff cool.

solar-powered pushcart, Spiritex

image via Spiritex

The cart itself was conceived of and designed by Spiritex employee Derek Sanders, though the solar units were engineered by John Seefeldt, another Spiritex employee, and the actual construction was headed by Alex Kramer. The cart is not only solar powered, but made of about 60 percent recycled and reused material.

Many painstaking hours went into its construction, according to Spiritex, as fitting together the odds and ends salvaged for the project could be tricky. Some of the material was salvaged from local junkyards, but much of it came from Trash Inc., another Asheville-based business whose goals include promoting the reuse of materials to cut down on waste. The cart’s wheels, for example, were once affixed to a mountain bike.

The T-shirt cart not only showcases the work of local artists and graphic designers and promotes business for Spiritex, but it informs consumers about the benefits of renewable energy and recycling materials, as well as supporting local business.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.