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Uptowners Swarm Pop-Up Shop to Bring Broken Goods Back to Life

By Nigel Chiwaya | June 3, 2013 12:55pm | Updated on June 4, 2013 9:12am
  The IndieGoGo funded repair shop began fixing broken items in Inwood on Saturday.
Pop Up Repair Opens in Inwood
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INWOOD — Dozens of Inwood residents in a fix with broken goods had their items repaired over the weekend after a pop-up shop opened its doors for business on Broadway.

Pop Up Repair, the one-month experiment in repair, consumerism and sustainability, debuted Saturday at 4975 Broadway near Isham Street to some 40 customers with busted knick-knacks.

"It was really busy for the first three hours," said repair shop co-founder Michael Banta. "The lines were out the door."

The repair shop was funded through a successful IndieGoGo campaign earlier this spring.

Back when they were seeking funding, the repair team said part of the fun would be seeing which items residents brought to get fixed. During opening weekend, the most common item appeared to be lamps.

Banta, 39, said about 25 percent of the goods were lamps. The team has also reupholstered chairs and repaired piano benches, fixed earrings and wrestled with remote controlled cars and toy lobsters.

Along with his wife and co-founder Sandra Goldmark, Banta managed to raise more than $9,000 on IndieGoGo to cover the day-to-day costs of the shop. After the campaign, they received an additional grant from Barnard College, which Goldmark said will fund the collection of data from the project.

Goldmark declined to say how much they received from the college.

The group hopes to eventually produce a report on the results within the next two years.

Locals were thrilled to have a place to get things fixed.

"I thought this was a really good idea," said Jose Puell, who dropped off a toy race car after struggling to fix it for year. "I like the idea of a pop up shop. Do it here for a few weeks and then take it around the city."

Rates vary, but the repair said they have charged $10 to $40 to fix lamps and up to $75 to repair iPods or iPhones.

In addition to Goldmark and Banta, the repair shop is staffed by several theater professionals, and even some of them are getting introduced to the idea of repairing objects rather than discarding them.

"My first instinct when something breaks isn't to fix it," said repair staffer Lilla Loettler, 21. "That's so much of what our culture is. I think that something like this is good about making you think about it."