My fiancé was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about Urban Ore. If you live in the Bay Area and haven't heard of it, you should be ashamed. Just kidding, but you should look it up right now.
Urban Ore is a general store within a warehouse that strives to find the reuse potential of reclaimed items and building materials.
They carry everything from vintage clothing to recycled doors. It's truly a beautiful thing to go into their warehouse and see all the amazing treasures that were kept out of landfill.
The NPR story was about Urban Ore's owners, Dan and Mary Lou and their next step of retiring and potentially selling or closing Urban Ore. Their concern has been the lack of expertise in this area of business amongst potential buyers, especially since they aren't a non-profit that accepts donations, but instead they are a for-profit business that buys unwanted items from people directly or from salvage yards.
This made me realize that we are in a transitional period in the world of secondhand.
The past generations who have really pioneered this world of reuse are looking to the newer generations to take the torch. But how do we make this more mainstream? How do we make a general store like Urban Ore be considered instead of going directly to new retail options? How do we get more shops like Urban Ore?
All questions I hope we can think about.
Prepping for Jack of All Trades flea was gratifying for me as I was reminded that there is ALWAYS a secondhand option that meet you purchasing needs.
For example, I needed moving blankets for my truck. My first instinct was to check out craigslist. I was scoured craigslist for a couple of days but didn't find any good, economical options. I even stopped by Urban Ore but there wasn't anything so in a panicked and turned to Amazon.
The next day I decided to stop by Urban Ore again since I had some time. Not only did I find two moving blankets at half the price, I found a jute rug that was perfect for the booth, a vintage samsonite folding card table for future events and several wooden crates. WOW. I'd like to say it wasn't luck but more determination.
That was life telling me, never give up on finding a secondhand option before turning to buying new. In the end you save money and the planet.
I'm proud to say that 90% of our business has been supplied and running through secondhand items. From our shopping bags (which has a closed business's name on it, we don't care) to our price tags to our booth decor. We're about that secondhand lifestyle.
This is what this project is all about. Applying the lifestyle not just with clothing, but to the many other parts of our lives which in return will provide consistency.
I've compiled a list of short list of my favorite reuse spots in the San Francisco bay area below. If you live outside the bay area just look up "reuse shops" in your area. You may be surprised what you have locally.
Hope you check them out. Here's to reuse!
Come Here For: Just about anything! Furniture, building supplies, clothing, records, books and more. It truly is a general store and has new stuff everyday.
Location: 900 Murray Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:30am - 7pm, Sun 10am - 7pm
Contact: (510) 841 - 7283
East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse
Come Here For: Craft supplies or any type of creative project. From fabric to egg cartons to recycled patches. They also carry a lot of smaller furniture.
Location: 4695 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609
Hours: Mon-Sun 11AM - 6PM
Contact: (510) 547-6470
Come Here For: Even more craft supplies or any type of creative project. They're similar to East Bay Depot but instead located in San Francisco and they have more office supplies and other random goodies.
Location: 801 Toland St San Francisco, CA 94124
Hours: Mon-Fri 10AM - 6PM, Sat 10AM - 5PM, Sun Closed
Contact: (415) 647-1746
Come Here For: Building resources (surprise!) You can also find some cool pieces and furniture to upcycle or use for a creative projects.
Location: 701 Amador St, San Francisco, CA 94124
Hours: Mon-Sun 9AM - 4:30PM
Contact: (415) 285-7814