You would think that the founder of a creative reuse business would have been aware of the Creative Resource Center concept for some time, but in my case, nothing could be further from the truth!
A Creative Resource Center is born.
An isolated trip to Door County, Wisconsin, in late September 2020 (amid the pandemic) planted the seeds for Hello Art Hatchery. We pulled our kid out of virtual school, rented a vacation home right the water in Sturgeon Bay, packed art supplies, puzzles, games, and books, and headed north to escape.
We spent most of our social time distancing, but we did stop at the local art store, Artist Guild. It’s a locally owned, rambling store with friendly people, tons of merchandise, and being there lit me up inside.
My husband is a fine artist, and the two of us had been talking about opening a studio/gallery for him in our hometown. The Artist Guild inspired me, and I thought I could add a small retail section in part of the gallery for select art supplies.
As I was researching our idea, I stumbled across a news story talking about a creative reuse center that had just opened in San Antonio. I. Was. Gobsmacked. Everything that I love – art supplies, little shops, organizing, vintage, resale, thrifting, merchandising, and creativity – was bundled up into this one fantastic idea! I knew at that moment that this was for me.
My original plan was to establish a non-profit and launch once the pandemic was over, but a lot happened between September 2020 and January 2022. As my original plan became less and less feasible, I decided just to start moving forward. And I did on January 28th, 2022, with this online store!
What exactly is a CRC?
Creative Reuse Centers started popping up in the late 1990s with early creators like The East Bay Depot and SCRAP. Since the peak, many centers have closed, but there are still well over 50 centers in the continental U.S. According to Google Trends, searches for Creative Reuse Centers peaked in 2006 and again in 2009. In 2014, Lancaster Creative Reuse had identified 43 centers across the U.S. There are also reuse centers in England, New Zealand, and Australia.
Most creative reuse centers are non-profit organizations that rely on community funding and volunteers to support their mission. Their missions center on keeping materials out of the waste stream and promoting the reuse of manufacturing waste in addition to home hobby supplies. In the right hands, ANYTHING can be crafted into a new purpose, even a plastic box used to sell gum.
There are three areas of focus that seem to be most prevalent for these centers:
- They collect supplies that have a significant environmental impact and find new, artistic ways to use the materials they save from the landfill.
- They collect materials to support teachers, who, according to AdoptAClassroom.org, are now spending nearly $750 a year out of their pocket on classroom supplies.
- Collecting supplies for artists and craftsmen from artists and craftsmen creating an “art supply thrift store” and providing affordable supplies for all.
Hello Art Hatchery falls into the third category and is also one of just two U.S. centers selling via an online store during the pandemic. It’s hard to replicate the experience of visiting a Creative Reuse Center in person, however, so if you don’t find what you need online, make sure to stop local at the center closest to you!
Creative Reuse Centers in the U.S.
ARIZONATreasures 4 Teachers – Tempe – https://www.treasures4teachers.org/
East Bay Depot - Oakland - https://www.creativereuse.org/
Scrap - San Francisco - https://www.scrap-sf.org/
Rediscover Center - Los Angeles - https://www.rediscovercenter.org/
Recreate - Rockland - https://recreate.org/
Art From Scrap - Santa Barbara - https://exploreecology.org/art-from-scrap/
FabMo - Sunnyvale – https://www.fabmo.org/
Remainders Creative Reuse - Pasedena - https://www.remainderspas.org/
SCRAP – Humboldt - https://humboldt.scrapcreativereuse.org/
Art Parts - Boulder - https://www.artpartsboulder.org/
Who Gives a Scrap - Colorado Springs - https://www.whogivesascrapcolorado.com/
ecoWorks - North Haven - https://www.ecoworksct.org
Resource Depot - West Palm Beach - https://www.resourcedepot.org/
ReUse Market - Garden City - http://www.reusemarket.org/
The Waste Shed – Chicago - http://thewasteshed.com
Idea Store – Champaign Urbana - https://www.the-idea-store.org/
Creative Reuse Marketplace - Springfield - https://creativereusemarketplace.org/
Ruth’s Reusable - Portland - https://www.ruths.org/
SCRAP – Baltimore - https://baltimore.scrapcreativereuse.org/
Make & Mend - Somerville - https://makeandmendshop.com/
SCRAP – Ann Arbor - https://annarbor.scrapcreativereuse.org/
$$ The Scrap Exchange - Durham NC - https://scrapexchange.org/
Arts & Scraps - Detroit - https://www.artsandscraps.org/
ArtScraps – St. Paul - https://www.artstart.org/artscraps-reuse-store/
$$ Scraps K.C. – Kansas City - https://www.scrapskc.org/
Materials for the Arts - NYC - https://www1.nyc.gov/content/mfta/pages/
Scrap Exchange – Durham - https://www.scrapexchange.org/
ReSource Warehouse - Hickory - https://www.resourcewarehouse.org/
Indigo Hippo – Cincinnati - https://www.indigohippo.org
Upcycle Parts Shop - Cleveland - https://www.upcyclepartsshop.org/
Scrap for Art - Toledo - https://www.scrap4arttoledo.org/
SCRAP – Portland - https://portland.scrapcreativereuse.org/
MECCA - Eugene - https://www.materials-exchange.org/
Art of Recycle - Ephrata – https://www.artofrecycle.org/
Resource Exchange - Philadelphia - https://www.theresourceexchange.org/
Lancaster Creative Reuse - Lancaster - http://www.lancastercreativereuse.org/
Pittsburg Center for Creative Reuse - Pittsburg - https://www.pccr.org/
ReCraft - Greenville - https://www.recraftgvl.org/
Turnip Green - Nashville - https://www.turnipgreencreativereuse.org/
Smart Art & Craft Supplies - Nashville - https://www.smartartandcraft.org/
Austin Creative Reuse - Austin - https://www.austincreativereuse.org/
Thistle Creative Reuse - Denton TX - https://www.thistlecreativereuse.com/
The Center for Creative Reuse/Spare Parts – San Antonio - https://www.sparepartssa.org
Texas Art Asylum - Houston - https://www.texasartasylum.com/
Clever Octopus - Salt Lake City - https://www.cleveroctopus.org/
SCRAP – Richmond - https://richmond.scrapcreativereuse.org/
Nova - Leesburg - https://www.novacrc.org/
757 Creative Reuse Center - Richmond - https://www.creativereusecenter.org/
Tinkertopia - Tacoma - https://www.tinkertopia.com/
Lost and Found Crafts - Olympia - https://lostandfoundcrafts.com/
Ragfinery - Bellingham - https://www.ragfinery.com/
Art Salvage - Spokane - https://www.artsalvagespokane.com/
Seattle Recreative - Seattle - http://www.seattlerecreative.org/
Hello Art Hatchery - Stoughton - https://www.helloarthatchery.com
Hello Happiness Creativity Center - Sheboygan - https://www.hellohappinesscreativitycenter.com/