Lorrie Myers and Jayne Blewitt sell scrap of all sorts, from cabinet doors to doll parts to old sewing patterns. They take minor relics from forgotten personal crusades and sell them for pennies to artists, hobbyists, teachers and more.
"We're trying to keep all of this from the landfill," says Blewitt. "We're all about waste diversion."
So far, Blewitt and Myers have done a heck of a job through their public-benefits corporation, Who Gives a Scrap. When their first location opened at Ivywild School in November, they told Ivywild co-founder Joe Coleman that within 60 days, they hoped to divert one ton of trinkets and treasures from the landfill.
"We did four and a half tons in 60 days," says Blewitt. And they haven't slowed down. From November through the end of July, Who Gives a Scrap diverted nearly 22 tons of could-be craft supplies from the landfill, among the Ivywild School, Old Colorado City and Fort Collins stores. They're serious about keeping track, too — before their all-volunteer staff sorts and prices donations, they weigh and record everything that comes in.
"Anything that's truly trash — I call it bathroom trash... we weigh when it goes out, and it goes against our numbers," says Blewitt. Last month, the three stores threw out 18 pounds of trash.
The business has already built a loyal customer base. July was the first month they were able to pay rent at all three locations without outside financial assistance, they say. Myers says that they've had to rely on foundations or personal funds to make up the difference in the past, but this has been a huge mark of success.
"We're two or three years ahead of where we thought we would be," says Blewitt. Myers adds, "We have an accountant that volunteers... he said, 'You do realize that you probably won't be able to pay everything for three years,' but eighth month, and we're OK."
As for feedback, it's been positive across the board. Indeed, visitors from around the state have been asking if they'll open more stores or license the name. But the most common feedback they hear is on their prices.
"That's the only comment we really get, that our prices are not high enough," says Myers. "But we want [our wares] to go back out.
"I always think fast nickel or slow dime. We could wait for the slow dime, but that's not the purpose."