Interview - Repair Cafe


As organizers we spend a of time dealing with things that don’t work anymore. Our clients have a difficult time making decisions regarding these items because sometimes they are expensive or belonged to a beloved family member. However, the days of being able to take your coffee maker or small appliance to a repair shop seem to have disappeared. We are pleased to be able to find a possible alternative. We spoke with Virginia Walton at Connecticut’s Repair Cafe to discuss new solutions.

For the busy person, what is Repair Cafe?

The Repair Café is a volunteer event where people who are skilled in fixing items gather together. Anyone can drop in with an item that needs repair. It is a free event so money is not a barrier. Most of the time items are fixed.

How does the process work?


A person brings in the item that needs repair. They register and wait their turn. While waiting, there are refreshments available. When a repair person is available they can participate in the repair or watch and learn something about the repair. The only thing that is not free is if the person needs a part in order to make the repair. They may be directed as to where they can purchase the part locally.

Where can I find a Cafe?

In Connecticut, the City of Middletown has offered a Repair Café twice now, in collaboration with the Rockfall Foundation and I coordinate a Repair Café in Willimantic 4 times per year. I have attached the 2020 flyer. Repair Café US has a Facebook page.

What can be repaired?


Depends on the skills of the volunteers. In the Willimantic Repair Café, we repair electrical and electronic items, small wooden furniture, bicycles, clothing. Knives and tools are sharpened. Some repair cafes might have volunteers skilled in repairing jewelry or books.

 What is the most interesting item your group has repaired?

The most adorable repair that I made was sewing a teddy bear’s ear back on. The little girl helped me with the repair and she was thrilled!

repair dates