Who Gives a SCRAP: Awash in Donations

Women With a (Re)Purpose: It takes a fresh set of eyes to see the treasure in someone else's trash

Sometimes, it just takes a fresh set of eyes to see the treasure in someone else's trash. Creative reuse is a growing area in retail that repurposes waste streams into materials for artists and art teachers.

Jayne Blewitt and Lorrie Myers opened their first Who Gives a SCRAP store in Colorado Springs in 2015. They've since moved from their original 400-square-foot location to a 1,950-square-foot shop to their current 4,000-square-foot shop on West Colorado Avenue. A second store opened in Fort Collins in 2016 and has since moved twice, from 1,300 square feet to its current 5,200-square-foot location.

"People always ask, 'Why do you keep moving?' Because the reception from the community has been so awesome," Blewitt says. "Put us in a bigger space, we'll fill it. Put us in an even bigger space, we'll fill it. There's no end to the amount of donations that come in. Both stores are bursting at the seams. We could really be in a warehouse and fill it."

With a total of six employees, the shops have diverted 147 tons of material from the landfill, everything from scrap leather and fabric to to vintage postcards and furniture.

"I think it's going to grow more and more," Blewitt says. "There's so much more awareness now with how much waste there is. They know they're doing something good by buying secondhand and buying thrift, and not continuing that cycle of buying cheap, new things."

While she's open to the idea of expansion, Blewitt says that she'd want partners to spearhead new locations, noting, "If someone wanted to open one, we'd be more than happy to support it.”

This article is part of a series called Women With a (Re)Purpose, which covers the enterprising women in Colorado that are transforming the waste stream into a supply chain for a wide range of products, while reshaping public perception in the process. 

Categories: Company Perspectives, Magazine Articles, Women in Biz