Creativity in Store for 2024!

Got the post-holiday blues? We’ve got a solution for you—Get your creative juices flowing again with a fun project!

And even better, we know where you can get inspired and get started—Valley Creative Reuse at 1153 S. High Street in Harrisonburg.

Valley Creative Reuse is an arts & crafts thrift store helping to preserve our environment and enrich our community.

Through providing community members with the opportunity to donate unused/gently used/no longer needed creative materials, we can increase our efforts to lighten the environmental load by keeping those supplies out of landfills.

And since these previously unwanted supplies are available for reuse by others, Valley Creative Reuse is also providing opportunities for community, connection, and a starting point for anyone looking for new ways of creative expression. 

Harrisonburg native, Morgan Gross, is the Founder of Valley Creative Reuse.

As a social worker and parent, she knows how important the creative process is for self-awareness, self-expression, grounding, and connection. Her dream of opening Valley Creative Reuse was inspired nearly 15 years ago after she first visited the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. Through her ideas, energy, organization, and the support of her community, she has seen her dream come to life and she’s thrilled to share it with us! Read on for our interview with Morgan >>>

Q: Can you tell us more about your inspiration for Valley Creative Reuse? How did your inspiration come about from your visit to the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse?

Morgan: About 15 years ago, I walked into a room that lit my brain up with possibility. There were art and craft supplies overflowing from floor to ceiling shelves in a small room housed within the Construction Junction (like Habitat Restore) in Pittsburgh, PA. I walked out of that room with a brimming bag of so much creative potential (and for dirt cheap, compared to art/craft supplies purchased new). Also, the hunt was half the fun, and the inventory was so unique! 

I learned a few years later that this creative reuse space was not the only one of its kind. It turns out that the creative reuse model is one that's been around (as a recognized concept, anyway) for several decades. SCRAP PDX was the first of its kind in the United States, as far as I'm aware. Australia claims the first creative reuse about 50 years ago. Anyway, ever since that day 15 years ago, then finding out there was SCRAP DC, when I moved to DC for graduate school, and realizing that the creative reuse model was a thing, I had it in my mind that my hometown of Harrisonburg, VA was destined to have a creative reuse of its own. 

In 2014, as I completed Social Work graduate school in DC, I joked to my spouse that if no one else had launched a creative reuse in Harrisonburg by the time we moved back there (it was 2019 when we eventually did), then maybe I'd be crazy enough to give it a try. Professionally, I'm a licensed clinical social worker and while working full time as a therapist it wasn't feasible to bring this dream to life, but after bringing home our second child 2.5 years ago, and our family's decision for me to step back from full time paid work for a season, I was able to pull out this seed of an idea, start bouncing it around more seriously Fall 2022, and open the doors of Valley Creative Reuse November 2023. 


Q: After opening to so much love from our community, do you have any potential plans to expand into offering any types of arts classes or other events?

Morgan: We are trying to take things one step at a time, to maintain a sense of balance and stability as Valley Creative Reuse unfolds, and also to allow for time and community to be a key ingredient in shaping how Valley Creative Reuse manifests in the community. The outpouring of love has felt incredible and so validating that there is a need and desire for a space of this sort. We do hope to offer art/craft classes/workshops with time, but exactly what that looks like will depend on the needs/demands and other offerings that are already provided in the community. We hope to add to and strengthen the existing creative and arts community in our beloved Harrisonburg.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for beginners looking for ways to be more creative with art?

Morgan: Yes! Come walk through the space at Valley Creative Reuse and notice what intrigues you or draws your attention. Maybe you'll find some inspiration! Talk to others in the shop to get ideas. We are happy to brainstorm with you. Or, sign up for an art/craft class currently offered by one of the many local, talented artists (Real Creative Studios/Laura Thompson, Friendly City Art & Clay Center, etc) or a class/workshop from us once we get those rolling. Visit the many art openings on First Fridays throughout downtown. Invite a few friends to get together and each bring some creative supplies -- find some collective inspiration!

Q: Have you been able to see any of the projects created from Valley Creative Reuses items?

Morgan: Yes! We are just at the beginning of the journey with Valley Creative Reuse, but people have already begun to share photos and stories of their findings and creations from supplies and materials at Valley Creative Reuse. We started a monthly social media photo showcase of some of the creations that have been shared. You can find these posts on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Q: What is your hope for Valley Creative Reuse as part of the Harrisonburg community?

Morgan: We hope to spark (and strengthen!) lifestyle choices around sustainability and enhance accessibility, creativity, community, and joy. We hope the space brings people together to strengthen individuals and the community. We hope to recirculate usable art & craft supplies back into the community, reducing landfill waste, and offering affordable creative materials. We hope with time to partner with educators, nonprofits and others who can benefit from affordable art & craft supplies and also be a resource for education around sustainability/reuse/repurpose/low waste and arts/creative outlets. We hope businesses will start shifting their thinking about excess/surplus materials and donate materials that may have some life left in them. With time, we dream of offering a maker space where people can come together to create, teach/participate in art/craft classes and workshops, and build community. Valley Creative Reuse will be shaped by the needs, interests and offerings of the community it exists in. We couldn't be happier to bring a creative reuse space to life in Harrisonburg over the last few months!

Q: Do you have anything you would like to add?

Morgan: I hope my story can empower you to chase your dreams, to take a risk, to follow what feels lifegiving vs staying on the path of "shoulds." It is so empowering to take a seed of an idea and bring it to life! And none of this would be possible without the support of a village. There are so many people, organizations, and resources in our community to support people in bringing dreams to life. Those resources include SCCF (Shenandoah Capital Community Fund), SBDC (Small Business Development Center), Harrisonburg Economic Development LAUNCH cohort, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and much more.

Interested? Here's How it Works:

Valley Creative Reuse accepts gently used and no longer needed arts and crafts supplies and materials, school supplies and business surplus materials from community members and local businesses. The Creative Reuse Center staff sorts and organizes those supplies into a retail space welcoming the community in for access to low-cost art and craft supplies and materials, successfully repurposing them, keeping them out of our landfills, and supporting our community.

Want to Get Involved?

To donate, please email or call/text Valley Creative Reuse to coordinate a drop off near downtown Harrisonburg.

Phone: (540) 422-2167 | E-mail: [email protected]

​Please let them know:

  • Brief description of what you plan to donate. 
  • Quantity (ie. "5 bags of fabric" or "2 boxes of scrapbooking supplies")
  • When you'd ideally make your drop off.
  • A photo of your donation is helpful as well.

​Additional FYI's:

  • A well-organized donation will be a big help!
  • Please bring donations in containers/bags you don't need back.
  • Find additional information about donations here!

Want to See What all the Excitement is About?

Connect with Valley Creative Reuse in person or online to get in on the fun; and be sure to check them out on socials Instagram | Facebook!

Hours of Operation – Thursday 10:00am – 6:00pm | Saturday 10:00am – 2:00pm

About Celeste Baker

Celeste graduated from the University of Virginia in 2011 with a bachelors degree in Sociology before starting her career in Real Estate Administration. Celeste assists the team of agents with transaction processing and marketing. Celeste Baker is a native of Woodbridge, VA. She moved to Harrisonburg in 2020 with her husband, Calvin, and their two children, after Calvin accepted a job with JMU. Go Dukes! Outside of the office, Celeste enjoys traveling with her family. She is a lover of books, as well as an amateur chef and gardener.