It’s one of the mysteries of the universe: How can you combine retail therapy with a passion for the environment so you don’t feel like a totally materialistic acquisition freak when you really, really want to just go out and buy stuff? Lisa Hernandez has solved this cosmic riddle with her awesome Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse www.thelongbeachdepot.org
In 2008, in the heart of the East Village Arts District in Long Beach, Hernandez took a leap of faith and poured all the inheritance money from her father & grandmother into opening the first and only Creative Re-use shop in southern California. Her mission is to encourage, inspire and promote creative reuse of stuff that is “useless” but too good to throw away – like LPs, fabric samples, corks, overstock, buttons, bottlecaps, paints, etc.
Why should we recycle and re-use stuff? Well, consider this little tidbit: every day, every person in America produces about 4.6 pounds of garbage. That’s 1460 pounds of refuse a year per person, which adds up to … 195 million TONS of garbage tossed out by Americans every year. That’s a lot of junk in your trunk, y’all. (More sobering stats at http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/00442/wu3rs.htm)
These numbers really got Lisa steamed, specially when she started seeing landfills stretching from Long Beach all the way to San Diego. So she decided to do something about it – by giving people a beautiful reason to wander in and give some stuff a second life.
The store is a gold mine, folks – for artists, teachers, students, crafters, and rabid bargain hunters who never saw a tchotche they didn’t love. It’s beautifully organized and neat as a pin – in fact, as a semi-OCD person myself, I’m dying to work there. And because it’s just the kind of woman she is, Lisa also supports the local artists around her, shows their work, donates stuff to schools, and finds a million and one ways to be creative with the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life. And every Saturday, she holds free art classes for the kids in the neighborhood.
My $100 today goes to support those classes, and Lisa Hernandez’s inspired, creative nonprofit venture. Because she sees art everywhere she looks.