First MVR Update!
Updated: Aug 12, 2019
October 2018 – June 2019
Greetings Matsu Valley Rebuild supporters! I want to start by thanking you for your support on this venture, I appreciate the positivity and kindness as MVR gets its legs. It’s a community project and without people and their support it cannot be successful. It has been a busy and exciting 3 months since we opened and I have been procrastinating this first update. But, finally it’s here...it is going to be long in order to catch up...I apologize for that.
Origin: I have been in home construction and remodeling on and off for 18 years, as a someone who hates garbage and waste the construction field drove me crazy at times. I was always saving things from the dumpsters; repurposing them or just passing them on to others. It gave me great insight to what can be done with building materials through reuse and imagination. So a reuse store just made sense for me and we needed one in the Valley. I think we can create an entire community of reusers and repurposers...those who already take part and those we can inspire, all coming together. We formed a three member board of directors, registered and EIN and incorporated Matsu Valley Rebuild.
Beginning: In October of 2018 I started. Through Facebook and Craigslist I asked people to donate things they wanted to pass on, to support a project that I was starting. Some people listened. I collected a few things here and there and sold them by appointment. It was slow-going.
Then some good fortune… some friends flipped a house and donated the used flooring and cabinets - big dollar items that sold quickly. In January I started speaking at every Community Council meeting I could attend (I still have 8 to go). In February we had Hoppy to Help! Zack and Stephan at Bleeding Heart Brewery agreed to host a great fundraiser-party at the brewery and donate $1 of every beer sold. Afterwards they donated more than that and their generosity along with the earnings from our silent auction of a repurposed bed frame padded the bank account a bit.
So I stepped up my quest for a space that would work and was feasible. I found it in the Trinity Lutheran Barn. It was small but had room to grow, it had an overhead door for big items and the rent and utilities were affordable so we took it!
Open for business: On March 7th we had a soft opening and we were also featured on KTVA. We started with a small inventory and a just a couple of shelves, traffic was light...I ate a lot of “Grand Opening” donuts that first week. But people came in to donate items and saw what we had...word of mouth spread and we took advantage of some cheap/free advertising; things started to happen.
Six weeks later we had purchased several used shelving units and had to rent two more rooms as the donations were coming quickly. It was also around that time that we received our 501 (c) 3 non-profit designation, earlier than expected.
Now: Early June, almost 3 months since we officially opened. Our board of directors has grown to seven members and we have come close to filling the four rooms we now occupy; over 2000 square ft. We still have a little room yet to grow but we want to delay paying that extra rent as long as we can. Right now we need to attract more shoppers to move more inventory and earn money for operation and infrastructure improvements. Finances have been tight early on; the store is above water but paddling frantically at times. This is where you can help!
The near future: We are looking into adding some space in the form of a shipping container for lumber and outdoor items, hopefully at a low cost or even as a donation. It will allow us to organize departments, absorb more items, streamline the process of donation intake and have a space for small classes. We are looking for a 40’ container with two sets of doors. We will also continue to raise awareness of how MVR can benefit our communities, as well as focus on marketing, forming and strengthening partnerships and saving for the slower months of darkness.
That’s not to say we won’t be active this winter, we plan to hold classes on small building projects, education on how to use power tools and other fun stuff we can do with limited space. We will also have fundraisers and parties and collaborate with other businesses in the Valley to spread sustainability.
Speaking of parties…we had another Hoppy to Help event at Bearpaw River Brewing Company on June 15th. We were there all day (noon-8pm) meeting and greeting and sharing information. Birdhouse Sandwich Company was there serving great sandwiches and of course there was delicious beer. We had an awesome silent auction for locally designed and decorated room dividers created from bi-fold doors. These are the local artists that created works of divided art (more info to come on these fine folks):
John Coyne Craig Clark Alli Harvey Patrick Garley
Carley Edwards Audra Niekamp-Reger D.K. Lavash Richard Sutton
Other ways to help: If you want to help MVR but don’t need to shop or cannot attend the fundraiser:
We will be reaching out for volunteers soon to:
● Clean and organize in the store
● Work the checkout counter
You can also:
● Get the word out...we need more shoppers! Tell everyone you know, tell the people in line at the market, tell your hairdresser, tell your mechanic
● Donate $$!...send us a check (MVR, P.O. Box 511, Palmer) or drop by the store to deliver your contribution.
● Sign up on Amazon Smile. If you shop on Amazon go to smile.amazon instead, register Matsu Valley Rebuild as your charity then shop away. It does not cost you anything but we get a little kickback from Amazon…a great way to support local business while shopping on the internet!
○ Please tell your friends and family too, anyone can support us, anywhere in the world.
○ There is a Charity Lists option on Amazon Smile where you can purchase items for MVR that we have listed. We can really use this help, the non-profit model does not mean we are raking in cash. We keep prices low and with insurance, rent, advertising and shelving we are on a tight budget as we work to get established.
Down the road: We are excited for the future of Matsu Valley Rebuild, we have big plans and big ideas. This will be so much more than just a store for used building materials. We will obtain a truck that will allow us to provide a pickup service, we will assemble a deconstruction crew, there will be education on building and home repair, a tool loan library will be developed, a fix-it workshop established, a bicycle parts and repair department with classes created, a large appliance department developed and a public gathering area made available where we can all sit and share over a cup of coffee and the ideas of our neighbors. The future is bright for MVR, this is just the beginning…
Thank you for your continued support, it means a lot.