By Karen Ackerman Witter
The Creative Reuse Marketplace (CRM) store, opening June 2 in downtown Springfield, is not your typical store. If you’re an artist, teacher, scrapbooker, hobbyist, creative individual or enjoy making things with your kids or grandkids, this place is for you. Yarn, fabric, colorful plastic pieces, metal parts, ribbon, jewelry, cards, bottle caps, leftover widgets and a myriad of materials will be for sale at a reasonable price. Many of the items collected over the last six months may have otherwise been thrown away. “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure,” says Adena Rivas, founder of CRM.
Not the creative type? The store will be a source of inspiration. Examples of artwork made from repurposed materials will be on display. A good time to visit is during the Farmers Market. The store is just steps away at 122 S. Fourth Street, between Adams and Washington streets.
This is far more than a store. It is an enterprise designed to enhance the community and inspire creative reuse through environmental stewardship, education and job training. Long-term goals are to build a sustainable organization and a creative space that provides steady employment to underserved women, inspires creativity and diverts substantial materials from the local landfill to be reused and repurposed.
Rivas, an artist as well as the City of Springfield’s waste and recycling program coordinator, is the driving force behind this initiative. She was inspired by places such as the Idea Store in Champaign and has assembled a group of dedicated partners to make this dream a reality.
Betsy Dollar, executive director of the Springfield Art Association, was an enthusiastic early supporter. “The more we can encourage everyone to creatively reuse things instead of throwing them away, the better off we all are,” says Dollar. “It’s terrific when people are using their imaginations and motor skills while being environmentally responsible.” Sustainable Springfield, Inc. is another committed partner.
Workforce development is an integral objective. Women from Inner City Mission are providing the workforce for CRM. Inner City Mission provides shelter, education and counseling services to homeless children, their parents and single women. Through workforce training, women will learn social and behavioral skills, plus sales, marketing and business.
With the Springfield Art Association, Inner City Mission and Third Presbyterian Church, all located in Enos Park, the program was launched under the umbrella of the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association (EPNIA). The Women for Women giving circle of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln awarded EPNIA $52,500 in 2020 through the Women’s Fund. The Women’s Fund provides financial support to organizations that address pressing needs facing women, and special consideration is given to collaborative programs. With so many diverse partners, CRM was a perfect fit. Recently, the Women’s Fund awarded an additional $30,000 for year two.
Rivas says start-up funding from the Women’s Fund has been vital. The goal is to be a self-sustaining, independent nonprofit organization in three years. Her enthusiasm is palpable.
“When you change one woman’s life, you change her family’s life and everything associated with her,” said Rivas. “It helps uplift the surrounding community.”
A grand opening will be held on Wednesday, June 2 during the Old Capitol Farmers Market with a ribbon cutting at 9:30 a.m.