The Re-Build-It Centre sees a lot of goods move in and out its doors — unless a bidding war develops in the parking lot outside its Function Junction headquarters as an item is being dropped off, as sometimes happens, and it’s purchased before it’s even had a chance to be taken inside.
Manager Lalena Scott often discovers treasures among the donations, and recently devoted her time into clearing out the upstairs area to create a boutique/antique store where the best items will be displayed. The current selection includes dozens of prints, including some limited editions, a trunk that’s probably from the 1800s, a selection of antique birdhouses and various lamps.
“We get so many awesome things donated that end up disappearing into the pile, and we thought we’d take the time to display them in a proper manner,” said Scott. “Our monthly auctions sort of did the same thing, and they’ve been a big success, bringing in a lot of people who have never been here before… I put some of the items on Craiglist and we were getting bids from as far as the Central U.S.”
One of the items that recently got a lot of attention was a set of Victorian era streetlamps from Vancouver Island. They found a new home on Pender Island in front of a historical building.
The Re-Build-It Centre will be hosting a grand opening of the new boutique space on Dec. 7, coinciding with another sale and party at the Whistler Re-Use-It Centre on the same day.
Both facilities are operated by Whistler Community Services Society to keep goods out of the landfill, provide people on a budget with a place to shop, and raise money for WCSS programs.
The Re-Build-It Centre opened in 2011, accepting all kinds of furniture and fixtures, plus construction materials, mattresses, appliances and other large items The Re-Use-It Centre doesn’t have space for. It ran at a loss initially, but Scott said that the service is now more than covering costs.
“I don’t have the exact numbers,” she said, “but we’re doing well.”
In October alone, the Re-Build-It Centre diverted 46,650 pounds (21,160 kilograms) of furniture, appliances, fixtures and materials from the landfill.
As well as the boutique store-within-a-store, the Re-Build-It Centre has also set an area of the top floor to host workshops for do-it-yourself builders and crafters, with Saturday programming getting underway in the New Year. One of the projects slated for the space is a workshop on furniture repair, hosted by a community member who will help participants mend their furniture items.
Another proposed workshop is on restoring and improving furniture pieces with mosaics.
“It’s about keeping things out of the landfill and giving them a new lease on life,” said Scott.
As well, Scott said she’s talking to the local Mature Action Committee to see if members that have years of experience in woodworking and do-it-yourself projects are interested in hosting regular events. More information will be available soon.
The workspace will also be available for rent for a nominal fee, inviting people who need space for their craft or work projects to use the area.
The Re-Build-It Center is located at 1400 Alpha Lake Road in Function Junction. It’s open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you’re looking for something in particular for an upgrade or renovation, there’s a “wish list” board where people can write down what they want, and will be called as soon as that item arrives.
For more, visit www.mywcss.org/..