Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Store salvages over 32 tons of art supplies

Remakers Market Thursday at Kinosaito Center features curated upcycled materials
Long+lines+form+at+closing+time+at+Retake-Remake+Store+at+the+Hat+Factory.
Dave Mueller
Long lines form at closing time at Retake-Remake Store at the Hat Factory.

“People get joy out of making things,” says Barbara Korein. “People are starved of that and the community that goes along with it. And just as people get joy out of making things, they’re able to give joy by creating beautiful pieces that will be featured at the Remakers Market on Thursday at Kinosaito Arts Center in Verplanck from 4 to 8 p.m.  

 

“We need less waste and more art,” said Korein as she walked around the arts and supplies business she founded, showing off an endless array of supplies on the shelves. Korein’s business,  Retake Remake,  is a Westchester Creative Reuse nonprofit. The non-profit business model is very simple: get arts and supplies donated from people who would have otherwise thrown them away, sell it to people at an extremely discounted rate, keep stuff out of the waste stream, and make beautiful art with it.”

“There are materials with lots of usable life left in them,” said Korein.  Things such as crayons, art paint, yarn or thread that are barely used, that people may no longer want or need and may throw away, are still completely usable. And that is what makes the amazing little shop unique. It’s a win-win-win all the way around, for the people donating, the customers who shop and get steep discounts on things they may not otherwise be able to afford, and most of all, it is a huge win for the environment. It is how this shop keeps things out of the landfills and garbage burning plants, and puts those items back into the hands of arts and crafters.

 

Retake Remake at the Hat Factory is open for shopping on Fridays and Saturdays from 10-4.

Retake Remake has been in business for just over two years, but the environmental impact it has made is in a class of its own. This past weekend, the 1,700 square foot shop surpassed the 64,000 pound mark of things saved from going into the landfills and waste streams. That is equivalent to more than 32 tons of stuff saved and salvaged. In simpler terms, that is more than the weight of a fire truck, a loaded cement truck, or a fully loaded tanker truck.1 It can also be looked at as four-and-a-half times as heavy as an elephant or more than the weight of a sperm whale. That is a ton of savings. The number of waste salvaged and saved from becoming trash continues to ever increase as more donations roll through the door.

A unique donation

While interviewing Korein at the store on November 15th, this reporter learned exactly what types of materials are donated. I was a door knob turn away from leaving. That’s when a car pulled up to the donation door and Korein instantaneously knew someone was about to donate something. Wednesday is not a typical donation day, but she welcomed the gentleman with a warm smile. After a brief few moments, Korein called out to me and said, “Dave you are not going to believe this. This gentleman is an artist from Valhalla who came all the way up here to drop off a huge donation of scissors.” The gentleman who was still standing there, did not just drop off a few scissors, but rather four very large boxes of scissors of every shape and size imaginable. Behind every donation there is a story. Barbara had to ask about the story behind the volume of scissors the artist was donating. It was highly unusual for that many scissors to be donated.

The four boxes of donated scissors weighed more than 250 pounds.

As he introduced himself, Lawrence Pitonza explained that he is an artist who works on very large sculptures. However, due to a severe  back issue, he can no longer make such large sculptures. He continued explaining that during the Covid-19 pandemic he was making large sculptures using scissors. He did not know how many he needed and just continued to order them until the project was complete. Afterward he was left with an overwhelming abundance of scissors of all shapes and sizes. He also explained that he is downsizing and clearing out most of his studio spaces due to his back and will work now on a smaller scale. That also left him thinking about how to get rid of some of his belongings without sending it to the trash heap. That is how he discovered Retake Remake.

As Korein and I listened, I could see she was calculating the amount of scissors Pitonza was donating. She quickly realized there was no way she could sell them all. But that is not a problem for Korein. Part of Retake Remake’s mission as a creative reuse non-profit, is to give back to local schools, recreation departments and organizations throughout Westchester who are in need of art supplies but cannot afford to always buy them. As Korein explained to Pitonza, she could only sell a few of the scissors. However, this donation would be a perfect way for Retake Remake to give back to those organizations who need them the most. Korein explained that she sometimes considers Retake Remake as a conduit to helping local community programs and organizations get the items they need, while also saving the environment from going into the waste system.

Yarn, thread, and sewing patterns section of the store.

Keeping track of donations and what is REpurposed

After Pitonza left, I inquired how the shop keeps track of everything they receive, where they put it  and how they know the exact number of pounds they have salvaged. Instead of explaining the process, Korein showed how it’s done. She took the boxes Pitonza donated, put them onto a digital scale and weighed everything. Afterward, she grabbed the  handy dandy clipboard hanging on the wall with every municipality from Westchester, Putnam and Rockland listed and wrote down the total next to Valhalla. Over 254 pounds of scissors and various art supplies was then added to the ever increasing overall total. 63,000 pounds now was up to 63,254 pounds saved from landfills.

Art paint

Just as Pitonza’s big donation helps, so do the small donation bags that come in from all over the tristate area. These small bags of goods help keep a never ending supply of art supplies in the store. It is a DIY, scrapbookers, artist, and anyone who likes to craft paradise. Retake Remake literally sells everything found at an art supplies store and does so at rock bottom prices. Items include, greeting cards, gift bags, wrapping paper, embroidery floss, rubber stamps, and chalk for a quarter; keychains for fifty cents, art frames, yarn, and baskets of every shape and size starting at $1, fabric for $3 a yard. Shoppers can also find every kind of sewing and cross stitch pattern they can think of. The store even has a seasonal holiday corner where shoppers can currently find art supplies specifically for Christmas and Hanukkah. Stop by and make ornaments to hang on the tree this year, says Korein. The proceeds of the store go directly to the store’s overhead and the cost of keeping the lights on. No one gets paid at the store as it is staffed by volunteers that keep the store in business. There are about a dozen volunteers in total of which there are six are solid volunteers who come in almost daily. The volunteers painstakingly go through every item donated, sort, price, and put them on the store shelves or into the 1,300 square foot back room. On Fridays and Saturdays, when the shop is open for business, the volunteers help customers as they shop or check shoppers out. It is a huge job but “this group of women who volunteer are amazing! Woman Power!” proclaims Korein as she and a volunteer nearby raised their arms upward showing their muscles. 

Retake Remake is open once a month for large donations. Korein encourages people to check out the Retake Remake website for donation days and for the items they are seeking as donations for the store. However, Barbara says, if you have two small bags of items you would like to donate and are shopping, there is no problem with bringing in those bags to donate to the store to help keep them out of the trash. Retake Remake accepts cash, card and Apple pay. Retake Remake is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m .to 4 p.m. 

 

Retake Remake is more than just a shop, it is a thriving community of artists, hobbyists, and people who love art. On Thursday, November 30th from 4:00 to 8:00pm at the KinoSaito Art Center in Verplanck, Retake Remake will be hosting a ReMakers Market. At this event, shoppers can find some of the most unique one-of-a-kind curated high quality pieces that will be for sale just in time for the holidays.

The pieces can only make it to the curated art market by using upcycled, recycled, and repurposed stuff that would have otherwise gone to the trash. Some of the art pieces that will be there were made with recycled fabrics, paints, and supplies that were bought directly from Retake Remake. Pieces for sale will include art made by local artists Alison Pasco, Dawna Anderson, Mindy Kombert, Carole Penner, and Candace Doty just to name a few.

Visit the Remakers Market on November 30th from 4-8pm at KinoSaito, and visit Retake Remake shop located at the Hat Factory in Peekskill. Visit Retake Remakes website and don’t forget to follow their Facebook and Instagram pages for photos, classes, events and the most up-to-date information.

 

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  • Mindy Kombert

  • Alison Pasco

  • Dawna Anders

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About the Contributor
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]