We often feature “reuse sightings” here on our blog as a way to showcase how people have turned the ordinary into extraordinary around town. But did you know there are several hotbeds (ie, stores) of items made from reusable or upcycled materials? I’m talking the motherload. And visiting one of these places will spark your creativity as much as visiting one of our pop-up shops, charm you with the ingenuity of its products, while also help support a local business and/or artist. So hit the town, folks…it’s time to shop and make some new friends!
Re-Inspiration Store: A buddy and I stumbled upon the grand opening of this store in Virginia Highlands last night. I don’t know how the new digs compare to the old ones on the Westside, but this location, in what looks to be an old house, was sprawling and chockfull of goodies. “Everything’s upcycled, recycled, or redesigned,” said the clerk who politely let us stroll around. Check out the floor mats made out of flip flops, flowers out of plastic bottles, rings out of keyboard keys or vintage buttons, nearly every household ware out of license plates. Point is, there’s something for everyone, and it’s all from materials that had a previous life. My favorite was actually on the porch: outdoor furniture and playsets made entirely out of shredded rubber tires. They were really heavy, but really cool, and think of the impact! Also, their website has a great blog with project tutorials, and they host workshops!
Homegrown Decatur: Admittedly, three-fourths of the WonderRoot Creative Reuse team live in the Decatur area, so, by nature of proximity alone, we might be a bit biased. Not all products are made from recycled materials at Homegrown, but everything is made by local artisans, who also work the shop. Turns out, it’s a co-op, so there’s potential to meet the person who made the thing you’re buying. Homegrown’s stock is as varied as the artists they feature, and you can get everything from food to fine art. Some upcycled highlights: super cute duct tape wallets, darling zipper hair clips, sketchbooks made out of hardback vintage books, and, oh yeah, a cigar box guitar. Whuuuuuut?!! Also, they just had their one year anniversary, so go and give them a high five!
Youngblood Gallery: This is probably the more established DIY enclave, having been in the Atlanta area since 1999. Also located in Virginia Highlands as part gallery, part amassed Etsy store, Youngblood is the place for emerging artists and part- to full-time crafters (well, in my humble opinion). Though you can find handmade goods from all over the country here, there is a focus on Southern makers. Hop to it!
So whether you’re the kind of person that starts your Christmas shopping in October (ha!), or the kind of person that needs some insight or inspiration about reusing and upcycling, head to one of these places. And if you’re the kind of person that owns a similar business or shop, let us know. We want the “reuse store sightings” to keep coming. Happy reusing! And shopping!