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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but if it is, take it to the Rodeo City Repair Cafe. This is a nonprofit community event where people can meet up and work to fix their broken items. Everyone and anyone is welcome, and volunteers are available to help you fix your things.

“We are really just like your neighbors next door,” said Rodeo City Board President Don Shriner. “Back when I was growing up we had a guy on the block, and all the kids would hang out and get their bicycles worked on, and now that we’re old, we have become those people.”

Shriner said he spent three to four years working to bring the repair cafe to Ellensburg, and about four years ago it finally started to become popular. He said he is extremely thankful to his friend Pico Cantieni, as well as everyone else who was there for the start, because without them it never would have been possible.

Repair cafes first became popularized by a woman living in the Netherlands. Eventually the idea became popular worldwide and made its way to Ellensburg.

While the program is a nonprofit, they are open to receiving donations and could always use more volunteers. People looking to provide their repair skills can volunteer for the program through its website. Cantieni said they are not just looking for people who can repair things, and that the program is in need of a greeter at the door for new clients.

Cantieni said the program works when people bring their broken items such as tables, lamps or bikes to the cafe, and the volunteer repairers works to fix them. The people who brought the item are expected to participate and learn from the volunteers, so they will be able to fix things the next time they break.

“We don’t allow people to bring something, drop it off and say ‘I’ll be back in two hours to pick it up,’ that’s not our model for how we do repairs,” Cantieni said. “We really want to try and encourage people to build their own skills and their own confidence at fixing stuff.”

The cafe is held once a month and is located in the workshop at the Odd Fellows Cemetery on Brick Road. Cantieni said when they were starting out they needed a location, and the cemetery manager was nice enough to give them the workshop.

Shriner said the goal of the program is to teach people how to fix their own items, repair their items and keep people from having to buy replacements. He likes to hear stories about people who have had a certain item like a lamp in their family for generations, and then the repair shop is able to fix it back up and keep it in the family.


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