This is the first Repair Fair held by the Philly Fixers Guild, a new volunteer-run group that offers free repair services to save the community time and money, reduce waste, and educate people about mechanics, engineering and IT.
“We’re targeting the people that live in the neighborhood that might not have a lot of disposable income,” said Ben Davis, one of the founders of Philly Fixers Guild. “They would probably benefit the most from not having to throw a product — that is potentially totally serviceable — just right in the garbage.”
Philly Fixers Guild was founded this year by Davis and Holly Logan. They are both on the steering committee of the Sustainable 19125 & 19134 initiative, an offshoot of the New Kensington CDC that tackles sustainability projects in Fishtown, Port Richmond and Kensington.
Davis said he got the idea after reading a column in Wired Magazine that called for the creation of a “fixer movement” that would accompany the growing maker movement bringing craftsmanship back to cities.
In part, this is already happening. There are a number of organizations bringing free repair services to people — just none in Philadelphia until recently.
“We created this repair organization based on several others that have existed for quite some time in the United States and around the world actually,” Davis said. These include the Amsterdam-based Repair Cafe, the Fixer Collective in Brooklyn and Fixit Clinics on the West Coast.
Davis pointed out that a local chapter of Repair Cafe opened on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill this year as well, and its first event will be held on September 20.
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Davis, who worked in his grandfathers repair shop as a child, seems happy to see more of this kind of service in Philly.
“There really aren’t repair shops anymore, ” said Davis, which, he added, makes people inclined to simply go buy a new product. “If we can shift that mindset a little, then I think we’ll have met one of our major goals.”
The Repair Fair welcomes anyone with basic repair needs, though it has a few qualifications.
Volunteers at the event will accept:
- Basically anything that can be carried in by a guest
And will not accept:
- Items that contain hazardous materials
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