We recently went to the Palo Alto Repair Café and spent some time with its founder Peter Skinner. Back in 2012, Peter read an article in the New York Times about Repair Cafés in the Netherlands. There was nothing similar in United States at the time, and Peter was interested in starting a grassroots organization that addressed the global problem of waste. A local Repair Café was just the fix to facilitate the idea of repair over replacement.
The first Café had great attendance—about 80 visitors—and it continues to grow. They now expect 150 visitors per event, with 30-35 repair volunteers. They even have amazing partnerships with the city’s Zero Waste Program and local hardware stores.
This is the best case of “If you build it, they will come” we’ve ever heard of. There’s a desire and need for Repair Cafés all over the US. If you want some inspiration on how to start your own, watch more about the Palo Alto’s Repair Café: