At the Repair Café, everything centers on making repairs. Bring items that need repair, and knowledgeable volunteers will help try to fix them for free. The volunteer fixers can work on items such as mendable clothing, lamps, small appliances, other electronics, bikes, toys, and jewelry. They can also sharpen knives and scissors. Guests only pay for needed parts. If guests know what parts are needed, please get them ahead of time and bring them to the Repair Café to save time.
Unlike a “fix-it” shop, where people drop off items to be repaired and continue about their day, the Repair Café is meant to get people involved with the repair process and create connections with others in the community. Guests are asked to stay while their items are being fixed. They can just watch, help with the repair, fix the item themselves with help from volunteers, or just visit with neighbors.
Started locally by Phoenixville Area High School student, Tyler Bernotas, 16, says, “Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandfather in Tennessee. He always had little projects of things to fix or yard projects that would require unique solutions. I learned a lot in helping him and it inspired a love of both helping people and fixing. I wanted to start this Repair Cafe to help others, to promote sustainability in our society, and to give back to our community with what I love doing."
By promoting repairs, the goal of the Repair Café is to help reduce mountains of waste. This is absolutely necessary, according to Tiffany Bregovi, owner of The Bregovi Group, a professional organizing service. "When I’m in client’s homes helping them sift through piles of items, I encourage them to either donate or recycle as much as possible. Throwing items away is a last resort. With a place like the Repair Café, people will have a third option: those items that seem like they could never be fixed can now have a second act. And that’s one less thing to toss in the garbage."
Repair Café is also meant to put neighbors in touch with each other in a new way and help them discover that a lot of know-how and practical skills can be found close to home. Seth Roberts, owner of PA Makerspace, believes, “There are very few things as rewarding as helping and sharing your skills to fix and breathe new life into something that would otherwise be thrown in the landfill. This Repair Café gives us an opportunity to help and to give."
Repairs can save money and resources and can help minimize CO2 emissions. Above all, Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is.
PA Makerspace and The Bregovi Group plan to organize a Repair Café on a regular basis in Phoenixville. News about dates and locations of up-coming events will follow as soon as possible.
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