Our story starts with our original founder, Nicole McGee. She was working as a reuse artist here in Cleveland (you may recognize her upcycled centerpieces found at Aladdin’s Eateries across Ohio and several states) when she started dreaming of more. More people being involved in reuse art, more collaboration, more impact and more fun. She started by founding Collective Upcycle in 2011, a cooperative of upcycle artists who came together to create a short-term pop-up shop to sell their items. While Collective Upcycle has seen a number of successful seasons, it wasn’t enough. Through networking and conversations at the City of Cleveland’s Sustainability Summit she learned about creative reuse centers, locations where teachers, artists and others can purchase unwanted materials to repurpose into art and craft supplies. And so her dream began to take shape: starting a creative reuse center here in Cleveland.
Nicole McGee was also working as a freelance grant writer and began to partner with Michael Fleming, Executive Director of St. Clair Superior Development Corporation. Together they put their dreams down on paper and were funded in 2013 by ArtPlace America to bring upcycling and a creative reuse center to the St. Clair neighborhood of Cleveland, an area defined as St. Clair Ave from East 55th to Addison Rd.
In early 2014 co-founder Devon Fegen-Herdman joined the team and in July the pair opened the doors to their 900 square foot storefront at 6419 St. Clair Ave; Upcycle Parts Shop was born! With community organizing and social work backgrounds respectively, the two conceived of much more than just a retail shop. Thanks to a series of other funders and intentional plans to include and serve the community they work in, Upcycle Parts Shop has become just that. Upcycle Parts Shop is a safe and welcoming “third space” (place for neighbors to gather other than work or home), a low-cost and low-barrier access point to craft programming and a place where people can find purpose and belonging. Nicole & Devon were lucky to meet amazing creative people who have brought a variety of backgrounds to the team. All part-time, the dynamic team knows that together they're stronger, more creative, more innovative (and also more sarcastic).
Upcycle Parts Shop remains a project of the non-profit St. Clair Superior Development Corporation with a commitment to the St. Clair Superior neighborhood of Cleveland. It is also part of a new generation of non-profit organizations and projects called social enterprises, meaning that we earn revenue and are committed to doing good. Upcycle Parts Shop is a business with a triple bottom line: good for the people, good for the planet, and good for the economy. Our mission is to provoke creativity and promote community through reuse, and we strive to do that every day!
To stay in the loop, sign up for our newsletter!