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Theater Couple Hopes to Launch Pop-Up Repair Shop in Inwood

By Nigel Chiwaya | April 10, 2013 9:25am
 Sandra Goldmark and Michael Banta have experience repairing items from their time in theatrical set design.
Sandra Goldmark and Michael Banta have experience repairing items from their time in theatrical set design.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

INWOOD — Don't throw away that broken chair that's been languishing in your home just yet — a local couple would like to fix it for you.

Sandra Goldmark and her husband Michael Banta, who both work in theater production, are looking to give run-down household items by opening a pop-up repair shop in Inwood.

"Everyone is very frustrated. They all have something lurking in their homes that they don't want to throw away but they don't know how to get it fixed," Goldmark said. "It's ridiculous that we're forced to throw items away."

Frustrated by the cycle of purchase-and-discard, the uptown duo launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for the one-month shop to offer residents a place where they can bring most of their home goods in for repair.

Goldmark, 37, said that the idea for the repair pilot came from a personal frustration of having to throw away or spend the weekend repairing items that, aside from one problem, were otherwise in good condition.

"Our toaster broke," she said. "We looked into it fixing it but we couldn't get the parts so we had to get a new toaster. Same thing for our printer."

The pair has experience in repair. Both work in theater at Barnard College: Goldmark as a set designer and Banta as a production manager.

Goldmark says those skills translate over directly to repair.

"One job I'll be working with aluminum and Plexiglas and neon lights," Goldmark said. "The next month I'll be doing a realistic show set in a kitchen. So I know how to source furniture and upholstery and curtains.

"There's a quality to that where you have to be like, 'All right, today we have to make this computer light up from far away and it has to get wet,'" Goldmark said. "And you just deal with it."

At the repair shop — which has raised more than $4,400 as of Wednesday morning — the duo, along with employees they hired for the month, would tackle fixing chairs, furniture, curtains, and kitchen items.

Depending on how much they raise — their goal is to reach $8,000 —  Goldmark said the store would either be located in a storefront or a smaller office space. They hope to open the shop in June.

Goldmark called the shop an "experiment in sustainability," saying they didn't expect to make money during the month. But if the store is popular they would look to keep it going either via a website or with other theater groups or national retailers.

"Why don't we link repair with retail?" Goldmark asked.