DENVER -- Working inside a small garage, the ringing of a hammer transforms tin cans into beautiful pieces of jewelry. Inspiration is found in every can, and in the love Thomas Althaus has for his wife.
His business, called Canned Goods, has been giving back to local soup kitchens for the past three years.
Like so many good ideas, the concept was born out of his garage and necessity. Althaus wanted a unique present to give to his wife Emily for their tenth wedding anniversary. Tin is the traditional gift for ten years of marriage.
"So I saw a tin can after dinner, I brought it out here to the garage, ripped it apart and made a bracelet and a pair of earrings," said Althaus.
To his surprise, his wife was very impressed by the jewelry and asked where he bought it. His wife told him he should go into business selling his tin can creations.
"It was pretty, 'oh my gosh' what just started when I gave those first pieces to my wife," said Althaus.
Althaus also had another idea. He wanted to find a way to give back to the community. For every piece sold, the company donates a can of food to a local pantry through its program dubbed "Can Do Good."
The growing Denver business has donated more than 3,000 cans of food to date.
"Knowing that we're turning these pieces, these vessels of food into more food," said Althaus.
Althaus gets a lot of questions about his unique jewelry. He explains how the different hues from a rich gold to brass and even rose gold occur naturally inside the cans. He also sands down all the edges to make sure the pieces are safe to wear.
Canned Goods sells earrings, bracelets, necklaces, money clips and more. The products are currently in more than 20 retailers around the U.S. and places like the Denver Flea. There's also an online store.