Pulling the Plug on Current Energy

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There's space for lease on Knox Street -- nice location too, right between the Apple store and Wild About Harry's. Until, oh, today, of course, that was the Current Energy location. But according to a press release we received this afternoon, Joe Harberg's done pulled the plug on "the world's first energy efficiency store™" and moved some of the energy-efficient product to Lakewood -- the Green Living store on Abrams Parkway, to be specific, where they peddle "earth friendly goods for the home."

The press release was long but not really heavy on details, save for a mention of a "strategic alliance" between the two outlets. Harberg, who founded the joint in '05 with his brother-in-law, wasn't available to talk -- in meetings, so we're told. Green Energy's CEO Tom Bazzone, who came from Restoration Hardware and bought the business a year ago, tells Unfair Park that he and Harberg have been talking about the consolidation for about a year; today's announcement is the culmination of their chats.

"We try to make available products for people who want to live a sustainable lifestyle, and one of the areas where we haven't done a great job is energy conservation," Bazzone says. Truth is, he's going to have to find shelf space, and the Lakewood store isn't huge; hence, his plans for a 3,000- to 4,000-square foot "prototype" down the road. "We've put the product in the store where we have room," he says. "In the future we'll put it in more deliberately and make it more of a destination for energy-efficient products."

Of course, it wasn't so long ago that Harberg was talking about franchising Current Energy nationwide. In fact, back in February 2008 Time magazine was amped up about Harberg's energy-efficient business, not to mention the "zeal" with which he spread the green gospel. Said Harberg to Time, "You're saving people money and saving the earth at the same time." Concluded writer Bryan Walah, "As business plans go, that's an awfully good one."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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