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Topic: Input on creating/sustaining a nonprofit reuse/salvage art supply store?  (Read 3587 times)
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« on: September 20, 2008 12:34:15 PM »

I don't know if this belongs here or in the "Crafty Business" section, but since it's a nonprofit community-based thing, I'll start here...

There are some wonderful organizations out there keeping reusable art-worthy goods out of landfills by re-selling them cheaply and helping kids and adults explore ways to be creative with salvaged items. Some examples:


The San Francisco program even tells you how to get one of these going in one's own community: http://scrap-sf.org/start.htm

My question is, have any of you craftsters been involved with starting or operating a program/organization like this? Please share any tips on what works or doesn't work!

I feel the need to get one of these started in Santa Cruz County, where I've been living for a couple months...It's a very arts- and recycling-oriented town without many places to buy cheap rummage/salvage/junk. But I know this is something a lot of people need to be involved with for it to get off the ground.

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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008 04:27:00 PM »

There is a great place in Portland called Scrap. I'm not 100% sure how they started or how to go about it but they are super nice and wonderful. It might be worth it to call or e-mail them and ask.

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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2008 11:12:44 AM »

I think it's a wonderful idea!
I volunteer for a resale craft shop up in Sebastopol, CA called The Legacy. It operates through the local senior center. It got it's start in the mid 90's when a woman, who was a life long crafter, passed away and her family donated her supplies to the senior centers day program. Pretty soon, volunteers were organized and set up a store front to receive more donations to raise money. It's a wonderful, self sustaining community shop that is mostly volunteer run (the only paid employees are the manager and assistant manager, through the senior center), relies on estate donations (a lot of excellent condition vintage goods), does consignment of finished crafts (I think it's a 60/40 split between crafter and senior center), and holds classes.
Have you thought about operating through a senior or community center?
I would love to hear how your idea evolves! I hope this helps...keep me posted!

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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2008 07:31:43 AM »

I would go to any class you can find on starting a non-profit. there is a whole lot of paperwork/rules/regs to create a non profit.  I would also contact all of those places you mentioned and ask to speak to a representative, the creator or day to day manager if possible, and someone on the board of directors that oversees all the legal and finacial aspects. This kind of thing sounds like it requires a lot of space, and therefore a devoted building/land. It also seems like something that requires more than just a couple people to operate.

Surround yourself with people that can help in this process, lawyers (egads the paperwork), accountants (IRS paperwork, budgeting), sales people (you need people to want to give you money and land etc.), and a whole bunch of people that would love to do gruntwork for a cause.

« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2008 02:02:18 PM »

There is a salvage yard in Pittsburgh PA called Construction Junction.  Total 503(c).  I don't have their url, but if you google Construction Junction Pittsburgh (there are more than one with the same name) you can check it out and get some contact information.

For a couple years they actually had a salvage arts festival but I don't know why they didn't continue it.
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2009 02:58:36 AM »

There's a store like that in Lynnwood, WA called the "creation station." I think they mostly take things businesses can't use (excess lids to milk jugs and the like) but they would be a good resource to check in with.
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009 08:53:55 AM »

You should contact the Boston Children's Museum.  They have a "store" where businesses donate their extra materials and the public can come in a buy (at really great discounts) them to use as art supplies.  Basically, you go in and buy a bag and fill it up with whatever you think would be neat.  They even have little project sheets with ideas.

They also seem pretty interested in other people using this idea in their own communities to spur creativity and keep stuff out of land fills.  And, they've been operating the store for many years and so would, I think, be a great resource on how it get it started and keep it going.

This is a great idea!  Good luck and let us know how it goes, please! Grin
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009 11:00:23 AM »

Anyone know of any in NJ or close by? 
I see there is one in NYC but only for schools/non profits in 5 boroughs, and one in Husdon Valley-a little too far.  There is so much industry in NJ it seems like this would be beneficial to have.


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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009 08:24:36 AM »

Maybe you could contact the owners of some up-and-running businesses doing a similar thing and ask them those questions? Particularly if you choose places kind of far away--while the attitudes for non-profits would probably differ, this is the advice I've heard for people interested in establishing brick-and-mortar businesses. Being far away makes them more likely to offer advice, since you're less of a threat.

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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009 03:57:02 PM »

Calluna - are you still interested in this project?  or has it fallen through the cracks for now?

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