Repair Cafés are free community events where skilled 'fixers' volunteer to lend their skills to residents who bring in their broken items for repair. The goal of the events is to keep stuff out of the landfill, conserve resources, save money and share skills throughout the community.
Bring your clothing, small home appliances, electronics, jewelry, or tools/knives that need sharpening, and fixers will try to repair them or help you fix them! Attendees may bring one item each and must be present during the repair. If multiple items are brought, the attendee will need to re-enter the line for their additional item after one repair is completed. Attendees are encouraged to bring replacement parts (i.e. cords, zippers) specific to their broken item for fixers to use in the repair.
Experienced fixers will try to repair or mend your items and can sometimes teach you how to fix them. Please only bring items small enough to be easily carried by one person, and do not bring any items that are leaking, dangerous, dirty or have a strong odor. There are no guarantees an item can be fixed, or that attempting to fix it won’t break it even more, but fixers will be available to diagnose problems and offer their best, unbiased advice. Volunteers will provide free diagnosis and repair skills, and replacement parts may be available for sale at a low cost (i.e. cords, spark plugs).
Repair Cafés would not be possible without the help of skilled volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Repair@columbiasprings.org.
When are Repair Cafés?
Check out the Upcoming Events calendar, and watch for events to be scheduled this year around the county.
Who are Fixers?
Fixers are volunteers with skills in tinkering and repairing a variety of items. The team of fixers at the Repair Café can have varied expertise ranging from small appliances, clothing, bicycles, small electronics, jewelry and toys, among others. If you know of someone who would like to volunteer their time and skills, please have them contact Repair Café at Repair@columbiasprings.org.
What can I bring to be repaired at a Repair Café?
Depending on the expertise of the volunteerss at any particular event and the venue, attendees can bring:
- clean clothes and textiles
- small electronics
- small home appliances
- tools or knives to be sharpened
Some repairs may not be available at every event. To confirm an item you want to bring can be repaired, please email Repair@columbiasprings.org beforehand with a description of your item.
What’s Not Accepted at a Repair Café?
For safety, the following items are not accepted at Repair Cafés:
- items too large/heavy for one person to carry
- large appliances (i.e. fridges, freezers, stoves)
- any items that are leaking, dangerous, dirty or have a strong odor
Note: We reserve the right to decline an item if it is unsafe or repairers are not available to make repairs.
How many broken items can I bring to the Repair Café?
To reduce the wait time for each attendee, one broken item per person will be examined at a time. After each item is examined/repaired, the attendee must return to the registration table to be matched with another fixer volunteer. While you’re waiting, enjoy a snack and have a friendly conversation with your neighbors.
Note: If your repair takes longer than 30 minutes, you may be asked to postpone the repair.
Where are Repair Cafés?
Repair Cafés are generally held at larger, public venues with adequate lighting and access to electrical outlets. Examples are libraries, community centers, schools and non-profit locations.
What happens when I get to the Repair Café?
When you arrive with your broken items, attendees are asked to sign in at the front desk, and volunteers will match you with a fixer. To protect all parties involved, we require all participants in the Repair Café to sign liability release forms when they check in at each Repair Café. Depending on attendance, you may need to wait. Enjoy light refreshments and chat with fellow community members as you wait for your repair!
What kind of help can I expect from a fixer?
Each fixer will help make a diagnosis for the item you bring in. They may show you how to repair your item and work with you to repair it at the event, or you can request advice and guidance to make a repair on your own.
Is there any cost involved on repairs at the Repair Café?
The repair work is carried out by volunteers and repairs are free of charge for attendees. In some cases, a repair may require parts or tools not available at the event, so fixers may offer unbiased advice on next steps for your repair needs.
Will it be safe to make these repairs?
All fixers are knowledgeable with regard to the safe use of the tools available. The first step in tackling a repair job will be to discuss the safe use of tools and handling of the item to be repaired. Electrical safety will be explained when disassembling items that use electricity. To protect all parties involved, all participants are required to sign a liability release form when they check in at each Repair Café.
Can I visit the Repair Café if I have nothing to repair?
Yes, stop by and enjoy a cup of coffee/tea and the community atmosphere.
How can I volunteer at the Repair Café?
If you have repair skills that you would like to share at a future Repair Café, please email us your experience and availability at Repair@columbiasprings.org.