Upcycle St. Clair

St Clair Superior Development Corporation

Funding Received: 2013
Cleveland, OH
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
December 27, 2013

On a snowy December evening, staff at Collective Upcycle, St. Clair’s newest retail business, welcomed more than a dozen crafters to the boutique for a fun night of upcycling. Upcycling is about taking materials that have been used in some way or are no longer valuable for their original purpose and transforming them in a way that adds value. Collective Upcycle is the new retail boutique that opened this November in the storefront space at 6202 St. Clair Avenue, in partnership with Saint Martin de Porres High School (who owns the building). The retail boutique is full of the work of about 40 local upcyclists who reuse leftover materials to make their products and art. Previously a pop-up boutique that transformed vacant retail spaces for 2 to 6 weeks a few times a year, Collective Upcycle has now found and transformed its semi-permanent home in St. Clair. “We’re happy to be in the St. Clair neighborhood” said boutique proprietor Lauren Krueger, “This area is rich in history and is very cool in other ways. Now we just need to work on bringing more businesses here and growing the community.”

Upcycle St. Clair image A

Krueger is a skilled merchandiser who transformed a rough empty space into a magical retail boutique that encourages innovation and celebrates reuse. In addition to retail sales, the boutique hosts events and activities, like the workshop last week and a clothes swap this week. A small portion of the store has empty tables (doors were laid onto brackets and voila, tables are born). At last week’s event, crafters got hands on with leftover scraps of vinyl flooring samples, foam, wire, buttons, beads, fabric, and other small pieces. They made owls, fish, Christmas trees and many other things when they let their creativity run wild. The workshop was a preview of the neighborhood’s next coming-this-Spring business, the Upcycle Parts Shop. The Upcycle Parts Shop is a creative reuse arts center that will divert interesting & usable materials from Cleveland’s waste stream. Building on successful models of creative reuse centers around the country, the Upcycle Parts Shop will sell interesting materials at low prices to the community members, artists, teachers, and makers. Like an art supply store filled with surprises, inspiration, and resourcefulness, it will be part retail shop and part creative space for open studios, workshops, birthday parties, and special events. That’s what’s next, but for now, we celebrate the vibrancy of what is, and Collective Upcycle is an amazing holiday shopping destination.