Creating A Solution to Problem of Waste


By Regina Clarkin

It’s not every business that boasts of diverting 1,200 pounds from the waste stream, but what’s more impressive is that the new Retake Remake store is selling the items that would’ve ended up at the incinerator on Charles Point.   

Retake Remake, Westchester Creative Reuse opened at The Hat Factory #9 on North Division Street on Saturday and saw a steady stream of shoppers purchasing upcycled, affordable art supplies.  The average purchase was $9.06 and people walked out with frames, fabric, paper and all sorts of supplies for creating. 

Barbara Korein’s artistic talent is now creating a marketplace for makers while keeping supplies out of the waste chain. Photos by Regina Clarkin

Founder Barbara Korein, who lives in Cortlandt Manor, is a retired art teacher who wanted to create a non profit organization that made it easy for people to find the supplies they needed to create and give them away when they no longer had use for them. “A place to donate, find and be inspired by an ever-changing inventory of traditional and unusual art making materials. A fantastic resource for artists, teachers, crafters, parents and anyone who wants to live more sustainably,” reads the organization’s mission statement. The items are deeply discounted because they are gently used.  

She had been looking for a space to house her shop since the beginning of 2021. She located the 1,700 square foot space at the Hat Factory and was supposed to move in October but that was delayed until January. She was happy about the delay because it allowed more time to collect ‘inventory.’ No one draws a salary from Retake Remake, all the labor is volunteer and the income from sales is used to pay for rent, electricity and website maintenance. 

A year ago, Korein reached out to the Peekskill Arts Alliance and asked them to publicize to their members the availability of  Retake Remake. She put up flyers at The Peekskill Coffee House and  went to upholsters and wallpaper shops saying she’d take samples and surplus. The materials were stored in her garage and last summer she gave them away to people running summer arts camps. That helped spread the word about her business. 

When she was looking for shelving to display items, she located the Facebook group called Buy Nothing and found shelves, file cabinets and other items she needed to create a retail shopping experience.  

Neatly organized shelves display materials. Korein noted how careful shoppers were with putting items away and keeping the store neat.

“There are a lot of people who are into not wasting anything,” she said, “and because the pandemic is easing up, people are less nervous about buying used things and have cleaned out their houses of items they aren’t using anymore.”

In doing her research to form a non profit model, she learned there are more than 50 successful creative reuse centers across the country, from 400 square feet to 3,000 square feet.  She brainstormed the idea of the name for the shop with her daughter and her son-in-law created the website.  

When items come in they are weighed and people’s zip codes are asked. That’s how they analyze how much material they are keeping out of the waste stream and from where. She enjoys opening the boxes of ‘stuff’ that people contribute, “It’s almost like going on a treasure hunt, you’ll never know what you’ll find.”  

Shoppers are educated about where materials come from and where they’ll go.

Items taken by the shop include: paints: acrylic, craft paint, ink, water color, markers, clean plastic bottle caps, wood: dowels, spools, clothespins, wine and champagne corks, film canisters, photographic slides, film strips, scissors, hole punches, paper, glue sticks, glue guns, reusable containers: tins, buckets,  jars, fabric tote bags, crafting notions: beads, sequins, embroidery floss, drawing supplies: crayons, pencils, oil pastels, chalk, yarn, knitting and crochet supplies, fabric: upholstery, yardage, sample books, scraps, sewing notions: needles, pins, zippers, buttons, elastic, thread, wrapping paper, paper bags, tissue paper, vintage paper, packaging, photos and magazines, maps, paper goods: office supplies, stickers, labels, postcards, rubber stamps, art paper: watercolor, sketch, canvas, drawing, puzzles, game pieces and playing cards, paint brushes.

What’s not accepted are: toxic substances or anything that contained toxic substances, recalled items, extremely sharp items or those difficult to handle safely, nothing soiled, broken or mildewed beyond the point of making it safely reusable, furniture, appliances, computers, small electronics, bedding, clothes, and house paint.

Retake Remake is open for shoppers from 12-5 on Fridays and Saturdays and will accept donations from 10-5 on Wednesdays and 10-1 on Thursdays.