Ivan is the business administrator at Finger Lakes ReUse. He was been with ReUse since 2008.

“I encountered ReUse at Significant Elements where Diane C. was a manager, in 2004, a long time ago. After my graduation from TC3 Construction Technology), while I was looking for a job, I was required to do community program hours through DSS. That is where I truly saw Reuse in action and perhaps being able to help people with what they are looking for, or being able to listen to their accomplishments and sometimes failures is what hooked me up to this community place called ReUse. It is a great feeling and a great motivator to learn materials, so you can understand people’s needs and help them in their journey. Every day I saw people that are passionate about the environment, being able to save valuable materials, supporting each other and the community. Working with customers was something I really enjoyed, so I ended up accepting employment at Significant Elements.”

“Fast forward a few years later and continuing working with Diane exploring ideas how to bring ReUse to another level, not just focusing on a specific category of materials, but offering the community a larger variety of materials, so I believe that is how the idea of ReUse Center was born. Diane felt very strong and continued working hard to make this idea a reality and with the help and collaboration from TCSW the ReUse Center opened its doors in 2011 at Triphammer MarketPlace. We started from scratch with a big open space and no merchandise. Our next step was to figure out how to fill up this space with merchandise. Diane and I ended up driving around the area and purchasing used items from garage sales. Slowly but surely the store was filling up with items.”

“A few months later we were able to hire more people and I got an opportunity to oversee operations. At that time we didn’t have a large variety of items that we could offer to our customers, but there was one thing we could offer and that is what I believe attracted more and more people to our unique store. Customer service and good, friendly relationships with our customers. One story perhaps I can share about one particular customer, who found out about our organization and started bringing/donating electronics to our store. At first he was very particular about how he wanted us to process his donation, and although we had our own systems in place, he was not satisfied and was pretty upset. Every time he was bringing us his items, the person who was accepting donations was simply in panic mode. After each donation I was having multiple conversations with him educating and explaining our systems and our operations. Over the period of time he became our big supporter and fell in love with reuse. Month after month he kept bringing us his valuable electronics and felt so happy that we do what we do. The lesson I learned is you have to look at each person equally no matter his age, race, education, cultural background, be kind and patient and it will eventually pay off.”

“I can definitely see ReUse growing and having more locations. Our systems are still going through so many changes and we are constantly adjusting our techniques and methods. We’ve learned so much through these years, but we are still young. I believe our goal is to make people feel that they are working for an organization that is strong financially and stable and consistent with its policies and systems. That is what I think we should continue working toward. Having more stores is just a matter of time. We just have to be kind and patient :)”