History of ACR

Category Archives:History of ACR

We’ve Remodeled!

Get Ready for a Brand New ACR!

If you have been following us online for the past few weeks, you may have heard some rumors about major changes that we were making in the center. We’re now ready to show off what we’ve been getting up to! With the assistance of one of our fantastic core volunteers, we were able to analyze the layout of the center and create a new floor plan that best utilized the space. After weeks of drafting and fine tuning, we are so excited to see our dream for the center turn into reality! Our staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to create an all-new, fresh shopping experience for when we reopen. Even our most dedicated shoppers will feel like they are discovering us for the first time! 

 

Check out our new register hub! In our last layout, the register was neatly tucked against the wall and hard to spot as soon as you walk in. Now, the register is one of the first things you’ll see when you enter.

 

Our bucket section has always been the star of the show. It best represents our mission to reuse materials and make the arts accessible to everyone. Before, it was tucked away in the back of the center. Now, it’s front and center and shining brighter than ever!

 

One of the first things that you will notice when you enter our center is the restructuring of the aisles. We took great care when creating the floor plan to ensure that each aisle flows into the next. The new configuration brings natural light into the aisles and leads you into our new Fabric and Fiber Arts section at the back of the store. 

 

We hope you were able to get a taste of our current fabric selection during the last Fabric Sidewalk Sale (thank you again to everyone who attended!). The Fat Quarter Shop in Buda has been donating thousands of pounds of high quality fabric to us and our fabric selection is now better than ever. And don’t worry- we still have our beloved rainbow yarn wall, it’s just been relocated to a new home!

 

We can’t wait to show off our new layout and welcome our community back into the center. We’ll see you soon!

 

Our People Make It Possible

By: Jennifer Evans

 

Our people move mountains.

 

Literally.

 

Our staff and volunteers transform the tens of thousands of pounds of donations we receive every month into appealing, affordable creative materials that can find new life in classrooms, art studios and your next creative project.  They stock our online store, prepare projects for volunteers and create tutorials that inspire.  In normal times, they lead creative workshops in the center and help educate the community about the benefits of creative reuse.

 

 

We know our people are what makes Austin Creative Reuse possible.  Our dedicated staff and volunteers have powered our growth from our earliest days and in the last year, they have seen us through an unprecedented global pandemic.  Their well-being has always been our top priority – our commitment to them led us to close our doors to the public twice in the last year as we sought to do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

 

 

In 2020, we undertook a months-long process to document exactly what that commitment to our people means to our organization.  At the end of that process, our Board of Directors adopted a new core value that sets out exactly how we put that commitment into action.  We are delighted to now share this commitment with our community.

 

Our people make it possible : Staff and volunteers who are valued and engaged make ACR a joyful place to work, shop and create.

  • We invest in our people at all levels. Through comprehensive training, professional development, opportunities to innovate and more, we are making ACR a place where our staff can continuously grow.
  • We are committed to creating a workplace experience where our people can thrive.
  • Fair compensation and professional development opportunities are a reflection of our values. We aim to be a community leader among other organizations in our community.
  • Our volunteers are an integral part of our team. Their generous gifts of time and talent keep our wheels turning and connect the community to our work.
  • We engage a staff and volunteer base that is reflective of the diversity of our community.

 

 

In 2020, we celebrated this new core value by offering paid time off to our staff for the first time.  We look forward to continuing to share with our community how we are putting this value into action.  

 

 

You can help us continue to support our staff while our center is once again closed to the public – we invite you to use our safe contactless shopping options, purchase a gift card or make a financial contribution to ACR if your situation allows.  Help us put community first, starting with the individuals who make it all happen.

 

We thank you!

We’ve Been Keeping Busy!

Throughout this second closure, the team at Austin Creative Reuse has been working hard to improve the center and optimize how we use our limited space. We’re seizing every moment of having an empty center since changes that would have been impossible to tackle while open to the public, are suddenly doable. The next time you visit, you’ll be able to explore a new layout and unearth previously hidden treasures! 

The recently organized (and moved!) Floral and Glassware sections

So far, we’ve revamped several of our favorite sections, with our biggest project thus far being Fine Arts. This move took several days to accomplish and the results are stunning. Gone is the jumble of canvases, artist tools and paintbrushes! We have carefully curated this section to house several smaller categories like Drawing, Sculpture and Paint. We’ve been spreading love and attention throughout our entire center, with Craft and Floral also getting makeovers and many more changes just on the horizon. Never before has it been easier to find exactly what you are looking for, while also discovering things you’ve never seen before. 

 

Part of the new Fine Arts section

 

The new Drawing section

 

We’re so excited to see what else we can achieve before welcoming you all back into the center! Here are a few more sneak peeks!

 

2020: A Year of Firsts

The Year in Review: 2020

At Austin Creative Reuse, the past 12 months have been a year of learning, adaptation, and firsts. We started the year by making our first move since opening up Austin’s first creative reuse center, we hired our first Retail Manager, and we experienced the first pandemic in our lifetime. While initially it was challenging, the ongoing pandemic provided an opportunity for us to adapt and get creative with how to get reuse materials into the hands of our community. In response, we opened our first online store, held outdoor sidewalk sales for the first time, hosted our first reuse gallery and market, hosted our first virtual workshop, and offered virtual shopping for the first time. We have truly had an unforgettable year and we thank everyone who has and continues to support us along the way.

Despite the impact 2020 had on ACR, we were still able to accomplish much throughout this one-of-a-kind year. Here’s a look back at the year in numbers:

  • 1 Virtual workshop series hosted
  • 2 Days spent moving into our new location
  • 9 Virtual field trips hosted
  • 24 Outdoor sidewalk sales held
  • 33 Vendors for our first outdoor market
  • 45 New core volunteers onboarded
  • 120 Pieces selected for our first online reuse gallery
  • 160 Days closed to the public due to the pandemic
  • 658 Dollars worth of materials donated to mask-making initiatives
  • 2,374 Online orders
  • 8,063 Hours contributed by volunteers
  • 17,048 Items sold during the sidewalk sales
  • 232,793 Pounds of material diverted from the landfill
  • 315,599 Dollars in sales

We can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for us. Happy New Year!

End of Year Update: A Letter From Our Executive Director

Executive Director Update – End of Year 2020

 

Greetings, ACR Community!

 

As we prepare to say goodbye to another year, we would like to take a moment to celebrate the dedicated community that lifted us up every day in 2020.  At ACR, we aim to build a community that inspires, encourages and supports each other, and during this challenging year, you have inspired, encouraged and supported us. Because of you, ACR has continued to stay strong and to grow, even in the midst of a global pandemic.  Thank you for helping us make reuse dreams come true!

 

In 2020, ACR celebrated the fifth anniversary of our opening Austin’s first and only creative reuse center.  In honor of that milestone, here are five things we’re looking forward to in 2021:

 

  1. Creating a vibrant community destination in East Austin.  We chose our new location in the Windsor Park neighborhood of East Austin for its potential to be more than a retail store.  We look forward to continuing to grow into our new space in 2021 and to creating a place where folks can come to learn, explore and create with us through workshops, artist collaborations, reuse galleries and markets, and more.  
  2. Pursuing joyful collaborations.  The pandemic has impacted Austin’s communities and community organizations in so many different ways.  As we all continue to adapt, we look forward to continuing to support existing partners through these changes and to building new partnerships with groups working throughout Austin.  We aim to be a good neighbor by building strong relationships with Windsor Park’s neighborhood schools, libraries, small businesses and other community groups.
  3. Welcoming new volunteers.  Volunteers have always been an integral part of our team. Their generous gifts of time and talent – 47% of our total labor hours in our last fiscal year! – keep our wheels turning and connect the community to our work.  We look forward to the launch of our new volunteer portal in 2021 which will expand volunteer opportunities and make it easier than ever to volunteer with ACR.  
  4. Bringing reuse out into the community.  At ACR, we believe that conservation is a job that needs all of us.  We look forward to expanding our outreach and education initiatives in 2021 and sharing the joy and impact of creative reuse throughout our community.
  5. Seeing your smiling faces again.  We have missed you this year.  We look forward to the day when we can safely reopen our new center at full capacity and bring our community back together again.


Like all good things, we know that 2021 will not always be easy.  As I write this, Covid-19 cases in Austin continue to rise and our center is once again closed to the public for the safety and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and community.  There are still challenges to come.  You can help ACR meet those challenges by shopping in our online store, buying a gift card for yourself or a friend, donating gently used creative materials, making a financial contribution or simply sharing your love for ACR with your friends and family.

 

From all of us at ACR, we wish you health and happiness in 2021!

 

~ Jennifer Evans

Executive Director

December 28, 2020

Outdoor Holiday Market

Austin Creative Reuse is excited to announce that we will host our first Outdoor Holiday Market on Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th from 12 noon to 5 pm.  The market will be held entirely outdoors in the side lot at our creative reuse center.  The market will feature unique handmade items from more than twenty-five local artists, makers and creatives each day with a focus on creative reuse materials and techniques.  There is no cost for the public to attend.  Masks and social distancing will be required.

“We are delighted to offer this Outdoor Holiday Market to allow our community to shop locally for fun and funky holiday gifts that support Austin’s artists and makers,” said ACR Executive Director, Jennifer Evans.  “The market will feature one-of-a kind pieces and a chance to get to know local artists including ACR’s talented staff and volunteers.”   

We hope to see you at the market!  

 

Questions can be directed to ACR’s Center Manager, Jen Mack, at jen.mack@austincreativereuse.org.

Announcing ACR’s New Executive Director, Jenn Evans!

Jenn Evans

 

Austin Creative Reuse is thrilled to announce the hiring of Jenn Evans as our Executive Director! 

 

A graduate of Duke University’s Environmental Science & Policy Program and the University of Chicago Law School, Jenn currently works as a contractor for ACR coordinating volunteer projects with the Junior League of Austin.  Her position was financed through a Community Project Grant from the Junior League of Austin.  

 

For the last four years, Jenn has been extensively involved in ACR as a volunteer and board member.  As a board member, Jenn led ACR’s sustainability initiatives, which focus on furthering ACR’s conservation mission by implementing our Sustainability Policy, supporting our zero waste goals and maintaining our status as a platinum-level Austin Green Business Leader.

 

Previously, Jenn had been the Deputy Director of Austin nonprofit Families in Nature and an environmental law associate at the global law firm Allen & Overy LLP.  She sits on Austin ISD’s Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee and is active in the Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative from the National League of Cities.  She also founded Nature Playdate, a nature community for Austin families, and is active in several other local environmental and community groups. 

 

Jenn spent much of her childhood traveling up and down the east coast from Canada to Florida in the back of her parents’ baby blue 1970s Econoline camper van.  While it might have been frowned upon by today’s standards (there were no seats in the back of that van, let alone seat belts!), her fond memories of days on the beach, hikes in the woods and nights spent around the campfire started her down a path toward environmental stewardship that she now hopes to instill in her own children and share with her community.

 

“I am delighted for the opportunity to take on this new role with ACR,” says Evans.  “The support of our community has always been tremendous, and no less during the challenges of the last five months.  With the re-opening of our new center in Windsor Park, ACR is poised to create a vibrant community space where all members of our community can come together to explore, conserve and create.”

We are excited to have Jenn join our staff.  While this has been a trying time for all businesses and especially nonprofits, having a solid leadership team will help us ensure our success.  

 

“ACR is in an opportunistic time and we need an amazing leadership team to steer the ship through these waters,” says ACR’s Center Manager, Jen Mack.  “I look forward to working more closely with Jenn on planning future programming, activating the center and getting the word out about ACR in new and innovative ways.”

 

When she’s not out promoting the beauty of creative reuse, Jenn can be found chasing around her three wild kids and working on their old camper van with her husband, Kelly.  She digs travel, the ocean, cool mountain breezes and admiring the creativity of all the folks who pass through the doors at ACR.

 

Please feel free to contact Jenn with any questions or notes of congratulations! execdirector@austincreativereuse.org

 

FY2020 Annual Report

If we could sum up FY2020 in one word, it would be: GROWTH. So many incredible things took place, including the big move! Here are just a few highlights of all we were able to accomplish with the support of our community:

  • We opened our new Creative Reuse Center in the Windsor Park neighborhood of Austin in March 2020. The new space is over 11,000 square feet, 7 times the size of our original center, and offers new ways to explore, conserve and create with ACR.
  • Volunteers donated nearly 10,000 hours of their time to sort donations, help out at events, and of course – move us into our new space!
  • 262,000 pounds of donated materials were diverted from the landfill
  • We had a 97% diversion rate – that means 97% of materials that came into the doors of our center either found new homes through our shoppers, or through our partner organizations.
  • Our Closed Loop School Supply Program was piloted with two elementary schools
  • ACR was named a platinum-level Austin Green Business Leader

Read the full report below:

ACR_FY2020_Annual_Report

We’re Reopening!

When we closed our doors on March 15th, we thought it would be two weeks before we could reopen again. We had no idea that 5 months later, we would still be in the midst of a global pandemic, with no end in sight. The team at Austin Creative Reuse has been incredibly adaptive during these strange times – quickly opening up an online store, offering custom orders via virtual video conferencing, and hosting sidewalk sales multiple times a week. Despite all these new services, we know it hasn’t been enough to serve the needs of our entire community. After much careful consideration, we have decided to reopen the doors to our center on Thursday, August 20th

 

We know that not everyone is comfortable venturing out into public spaces, which is why we will continue to offer our online store with curbside pickup, and custom orders via Zoom. However, we will discontinue our sidewalk sales upon reopening. 

 

Health and safety has always been at the forefront of our decision making process, and we’ll be taking several precautions to minimize risk and exposure for our staff, volunteers, and you – our loyal customers and supporters. 

 

If you are feeling ill, caring for someone who is ill, or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID in the past 14 days, we ask that you postpone your visit to ACR.

 

  • Limited Hours: We’ll be open during the following times:
    • Mon – Wed: CLOSED
    • Thurs & Fri: 10AM – 8PM
    • Sat: 11AM – 8PM
    • Sun: 12PM – 6PM
    • Curbside pickup will remain available from 10AM – 4PM, 7 days a week
  • At-Risk Shopping Hour: We will reserve an hour each week specifically for those who are at risk.
    • Sat: 10AM – 11AM
  • Limited Entries: We will limit the number of customers in the center to 20 people at a time. Entry will be first come, first served. If we are at capacity, you will be asked to queue outside the center in a socially distanced line.
  • Masks Required – No Exceptions: In the best interest of everyone’s health and safety, we are not allowing shoppers in without a mask. We understand some people may have conditions preventing them from being able to wear one, however, we have other ways to access our services through online shopping and custom orders. For a nominal fee, we’re happy to pull together items for you to pick up curbside, in order to minimize your risk and exposure.
  • Contact Tracing: All customers will be asked to provide a name and email address or phone number upon entry. We value your privacy and will only use your contact information in the event of a known exposure.
  • Other Health and Safety Measures: Customers will be required to have their temperature taken and sanitize their hands prior to entering the center. You will also be required to keep at least 6 feet of distance from others while shopping inside.
  • Material Donations: We will continue to accept donations by appointment on Wednesdays, and walk up donations will be accepted Sundays from 12PM – 6PM. Donations outside these times will politely turned away.
  • Frequent Cleaning and Sanitation: Prior to reopening, we will have a professional sanitation company perform a deep cleaning of the center. We are also sanitizing surfaces and high touch areas at least twice daily and providing frequent hand washing breaks for our staff and volunteers.

 

We are eager to share our new space with you! Our appreciation and gratitude goes out to each of you for your patience, support, and understanding during this time. We’ll see you soon!

Outdoor Sidewalk Sales

Since we closed on March 15th, ACR has adapted to meet the needs of our community, while making sure that the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and customers remain our top priority. Although we remain closed to the public, we’ve recently started to hold multiple sidewalk sales every week, with a focus on different materials each time. These sales are accessible by appointment, only and we announce the upcoming schedule via our weekly newsletter. Be sure you’re signed up to get first dibs!

 

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect!

 

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Tel: (512) 375-3041