Thousands of items lined The Repurpose Project’s shelves Saturday as customers celebrated the new location.
Now operating just two doors east of Satchel’s Pizza at 1920 NE 23rd Ave., The Repurpose Project is a nonprofit thrift store that specializes in reusing, reducing and recycling the donations most second-hand stores turn away.
“Right now, our society throws away a lot and buys more than we need,” co-founder Sarah Goff said. “Why not use what we already have in our backyards before going and taking more resources and energy and water from the planet?”
The new shop has everything and the kitchen sink — about 15 sinks, actually.
Its property is a jumbled-up labyrinth. Stacks of salvaged wood and piles of windowpanes sit alongside towering walls of fabric and forgotten objects.
“Anything from buttons to bathtubs is what you’ll find here,” said Lauren Corley, a 20-year-old sustainability and the built environment sophomore who works as an intern at The Repurpose Project.
The new location is about four times bigger than the organization’s old building, allowing The Repurpose Project even more opportunities to expand. They plan to open up a gallery space and host community events, Goff said.
“We’ve been able to watch the store grow from nothing to this, so it’s been really awesome to be so involved,” said Kelsey Luksovsky, a 20-year-old public relations junior and Repurpose Project intern.
With a fiddle playing Christmas songs and Satchel’s selling slices of pizza, Gainesville residents browsed the store, stopping to talk to friends and strangers.
“I was really excited about their new place,” said Haley Wright, a 20-year-old UF health science sophomore.
“I just really wanted a study break,” said her friend Hope Fischer, a UF applied physiology and kinesiology sophomore.
Places like The Repurpose Project make Gainesville more interesting, Fischer said.
“There’s a bunch of little things that you can find to do that are out of the ordinary,” the 19-year-old said.
“Gives it character,” added Wright.
In a corner, a propped-up coatrack was missing a leg. A single pineapple-shaped cake tin and a lone alligator drawer pull were found among eight-track players and office supplies.
“We try to do the little bits and pieces that end up getting thrown away — things that have value,” Goff said. “I knew Gainesville would be the kind of place that would support something like this.”
[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 12/7/2014]