For Immediate Release
September 9, 2020
The Plains, Ohio — After ReUse Industries closed in February, a group of local organizations began working to reimagine the work that ReUse had started, and the group is now ready to launch the new endeavor. On Saturday, Sept. 26, Rural Action will host a recycling event where residents can drop off difficult-to-recycle items and visit an open house highlighting progress on the makerspace and re-opened thrift store.
“ReUse served an important role in our community, and we have been listening to the members and people who were involved about what was really important to them,” says Debbie Phillips, CEO of Rural Action. “We are very excited about the partnership and eager to move forward together.”
The local organizations — which include Rural Action, the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio, Passion Works Studio, Zero Waste Event Productions, Athens Public Libraries, and Athens Hocking Recycling Center — decided to acquire the assets of ReUse and launch a new thrift store and makerspace in the former ReUse location at 751 W. Union Street in Athens.
“ACEnet is immensely gratified to contribute our entrepreneurial support and expertise with other community collaborators to reimagine the Athens MakerSpace,” says Leslie Schaller, Director of Programs at ACEnet. “We appreciate the critical role Rural Action has assumed to preserve the space and equipment that local makers need to build skills, engage in product design, and launch their creative enterprises.”
During the open house, which will run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., residents will be able to see the progress made thus far and discuss the initiative with staff. Social-distancing measures will be in place, and masks will be required.
“We encourage members of the community to stop by to learn about our plans and offer feedback on the new initiative,” says Paul Patton, Social Enterprise Director at Rural Action. “We are excited to open this important community asset that provides a space for local entrepreneurs and craftspeople.”
The new makerspace plans to offer membership tiers that include access to workshop spaces, including those dedicated to fabrics and textiles, metal, wood, and plastics. The makerspace will also offer access to technical assistance and business planning for local entrepreneurs interested in taking their craft or skill to market or further developing an existing business.
“Passion Works Studio has been a collaborative community space for over 20 years,” says Patty Mitchell, Passion Works Executive Director/Founder. “We have evolved by encouraging innovation, artistic investigation, and product development through up-cycling locally sourced materials. Gaining access to new technologies and equipment combined with expanding partnerships with local organizations/community members is absolutely so exciting. We can not wait to see how working within this community makerspace positively affects product development, production, and work opportunities.”
The recycling event will occur in the parking lot from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and will accept a variety of materials, including mattresses; e-waste (including electronic components); rechargeable batteries; all metal items; medical supplies and equipment (no medicine); clothing and textiles; and 30-gallon bags of trash, which will cost $3/bag. All recyclable items collected during the event will go to local and regional businesses to be recycled or up-cycled, says Ed Newman, Zero Waste Director at Rural Action.
The former ReUse closed in February after encountering serious financial and operational challenges. When Athens County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Lang approved a process for Reuse Industries to accept an offer on its assets, Rural Action and its partners stepped forward with a proposal that was accepted.
“The partners involved share a vision of developing a stronger culture of entrepreneurship in the region while promoting reuse and up-cycling to deepen our zero waste economy,” Rural Action’s Phillips said. “We have a lot of talent and creativity in our community. We want to develop infrastructure and ways to support those individuals and enterprises that will create wealth, reduce poverty, increase creativity, restore the environment and promote a sense of hope and possibility in our community.”
About Rural Action
Rural Action is a regional community development organization with a 32-county footprint working with members and community leaders on a range of quality of life, environmental, and economic projects across rural Appalachian Ohio. Its mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. Learn more about Rural Action at www.ruralaction.org
CEO, Rural Action