A “creative reuse” store just south of the tracks in downtown Billings is open for business.
The opening comes a bit later than expected, but also unexpected was the flood of donations and offers of help.
“It has been so well received,” said Tammy Zemliska, director of the SCRAP Billings store at 21 S. 29th St. “People have been so excited once they realize their stuff doesn’t have to end up in the landfill.”
The store is an affiliate of SCRAP USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teachers, students and artists obtain inexpensive art materials while promoting recycling and reuse.
The store, formerly the Montana Rescue Mission Bargain Center, is slowly filling up with donated art supplies and items that can be used for making craft goods, including lamps, lamp shades, bottles, corks, yarn, fabric, glassware, artificial and dried flowers, cupboard doors, beads, shells, picture frames and ribbon.
In the back of the building, near the loading dock, a woodworking shop is being set up, with a band saw, table saw, lathe and bowl-maker already installed and with more machines and tools coming from three more donors. Zemliska said another donor will be setting up a metalworking area with a plasma cutter, pipe benders and welding equipment.
Those donors will also be offering classes in wood- and metalworking.
“That’s been the cool part of this project—the amount of people coming out of the woodwork to share what they know,” Zemliska said.
She doesn’t know when those shops will be up and running, but she hopes in time for people to work on Christmas projects. People will have to have safety training before using any of the shop tools and equipment, she said.
Other classes and workshops are already being offered in studio spaces behind the front room. The store will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the studios available from 5 to 7 both nights. People will be able to use the spaces to work on projects of their own and projects sponsored by the store.
One donor recently gave the store a substantial load of granite scraps, one chunk of which was used to make a garden bench when paired with pieces of headboard and footboard from a child’s bed.
To encourage more people to get involved in the store, Zemliska is offering $50 in SCRAP money—redeemable at the rate of $10 a month at the store—for people who provide their name, phone number and email addresses. They will also be the first to get email notifications of new classes and special events.
The store is also sponsoring an art contest using about 200 wooden table tops that were donated to the store. Some of the doors have already been painted and used as part of the entryway over the front door of the store.
For the contest, people can buy a table top for $25 and then will have until Nov. 20 to paint it or decorate it in any fashion and return it to the store. Photos of the entries will be posted on the SCRAP Billings Facebook page, where people can vote for their favorites works.
Live voting will be conducted during the Christmas Stroll on Nov. 27 and during the next ArtWalk, on Dec. 4. Winners will be announced around Dec. 10, with prizes for the top three vote-getters. Also during ArtWalk, classes will be offered at the store and people can have Christmas photos taken in a vintage-kitchen setting.