Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Crazy Reality of a Creative Reuse Center

A creative reuse center (CRC) can be a magical, creative haven--a place where one can wander, dig, and see what their mind imagines.  It can also be a place of chaos and unpredictability.  Part of the je ne sais quoi of reuse is that it’s hard to imagine the types of materials (and types of people, for that matter!) that will come your way.

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While the CRC might include other features like a gallery, boutique, library or workshop space, the biggest chunk of square footage (and the bread and butter!) of most CRCs is the retail store.  If you’ve ever worked in a retail environment, that experience is of course very valuable in training your customer service skills, but that’s about it.  Imagine, if you will, walking into your nearest big box store to buy laundry detergent.  First of all, you probably know right where it will be, in the aisle marked with “Laundry” or “Cleaning Supplies”.  You arrive in the aisle to find 20 different choices - powder or liquid, this brand or that, spring fresh or lavender, stain fighting or color saving, etc. So, you choose exactly what you need and walk away a satisfied customer.

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  1. I just found this blog and I hope it is timely. We are two weeks away from our Grand Opening of Cary Creative Center in Cary, NC ,dedicated to creative reuse. We have been mentored by The Scrap Exchange in Durham NC. We believe every community needs a dedicated creative reuse store and programs.
    I will follow this blog and add comments as we experience this process of organizing, opening and growing a creative reuse center.

  2. Thanks for your comment! I look forward to hearing of your progress, and hopefully someday I'll get back to that neck of the woods to visit.

    If you're available, it would be great to meet you at ReuseConex 2012, the 2nd national reuse conference to be hosted in Portland, OR this coming October. It's a fun-filled, informational and networking event to connect to reuse colleagues and learn reuse best practices. More info is available at

    All the best, Alyssa.