Stripping the Willow

August 24, 2022
Julian Wild, Rubus

Strip the Willow upcycling centre and cafe: Volunteer Andrew Quinn (remaining) and apprentice Alex Greaves checking a bookcase made of a reclaimed fence

Remove the Willow upcycling centre and cafe: Volunteer Andrew Quinn (remaining) and apprentice Alex Greaves checking a bookcase made from a reclaimed fence

Here’s some thing we don’t expect you'll hear from directors of the latest company begin ups: “Money does not bother me personally that a great deal. I’ve never already been someone to go out making money with regard to earning profits.”

Nonetheless, throughout the last 17 months, previous Southern Yorkshire Police inspector Jon Johnson has actually switched a derelict tyre showroom off Abbeydale path into a furniture ‘upcycling’ company, a cafe, a songs site and memorial, a training center, and a gathering resource.

Strip The Willow currently hires five people, and Jon’s programs feature a new centre in Sharrow, links using the universities, an on-line store, and exporting their business model to other business owners without any desire for earning profits.

As he took early your retirement after 26 years as an officer, Jon acknowledges he previously no real intentions of working 10 hour days seven days per week creating a personal business.

“i recently desired to broaden my horizons and do different things, ” he said. “exactly what took place into the force, witnessing what’s incorrect with society, shaped what I’ve gone to do - how communities don’t gel, having less opportunities for individuals to meet.”

After his retirement in 2011 Jon put his DIY abilities to utilize by helping people who have household repair works and clearances. “Vulnerable or older people who couldn’t manage lots but wanted a task doing. It’s nice to help people in the event that you’ve got enough time and capability.”

An unwillingness to see ‘something serviceable go directly to the tip’ designed that their post-retirement basement, shed and garden filled up with furniture, ironmongery and bits of timber, and on their method home one night Jon along with his partner spotted the empty tyre showroom on South see Road.

“Before we understood it, we had the secrets and six weeks to get it ready to go.”

The building had been semi-derelict, but contained a workshop employed by a previous owner, a sizable basement and a ‘quirky’ room upstairs, as Jon put it, that could become an art form gallery and perhaps much more.

As soon as it became obvious that brand-new operation will be a residential area room and recycling organization cost gain the local general public, the volunteers which help just held coming. a coffeemaker was donated, a friend typed Jon a business plan, and a group of volunteers helped change the ‘quirky area’ into a cafe serving coffee, 65 teas and home-made desserts and soup (along with a wood offcut burning up kitchen stove and denim lagging from regional organization healing Insulation), an exhibition space now the ‘Bouquet of metal’ vinyl record store.

Downstairs, a group of joiners, apprentices and volunteers (including Jon) prove a stream of ‘upcycled’ furniture made from reclaimed skips, walls, and timber scavenged from companies and community contributions. Totally free raw materials - and keeping prices down by utilizing volunteers and apprentices - implies that the bespoke furnishings could be offered fairly cheaply, including an alternative for pieces becoming meant to a customer’s own design. Which would be very difficult for a company driven by profit.

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