I often volunteer at Recyclore.org but we’re sort of a victim of our own success, as the “business” (we’re registered not-for-profit) has been steadily expanding the past few years.
We’ve kept many thousands of bicycles out of the landfill over the years, fixing up donations with volunteer labour and either selling them at very low prices or giving them away to low-income residents. If the bike is beyond fixing we strip off the useful parts and recycle the rest, so that nothing ends up in the landfill.
We now have many hundreds of bikes and not enough space to store them all this winter, even if St. Paul H.S. has been very generous about giving us free space for storage and our workshop.
I was assigned to look into renting some commercial space – someone said why not in Bells Corners, where there are many empty stores (way more than when Rick launched his BIA hokum). Some of them have been reportedly empty for years. Maybe someone would rent us some space at a discount to store some bikes?
I wasn’t too optimistic – if just the small spots on the sign in the Dollar Store Plaza are going for $200 a month, then it would hard to imagine actual space for less than thousands a month.
Let’s take as an example that smallish space between Avis and Alex’s place – what’s your guess?
At around $25 a square foot for rent and about $10 a square foot for utilities and taxes (plus the special Rick/BIA tax that everybody has to pay) it works out to $36,995! No wonder small ma & pa businesses struggle to survive in Bells Corners and so many stores are empty (over 30 at last count).
No one gets paid at Recyclore so we have no labour costs. The Catholic school board doesn’t charge us rent (and the old LVCA gave us space for free one summer while our shop at St. Paul was being renovated). Our only expenses are insurance ($1500 a year), the domain name/hosting ($25 a year) and money spent on tools, so we have built up a cushion over the years. But it would disappear in no time if we had to pay anywhere near market rates for commercial space.
Recyclore board members were asked to store bikes in their backyards under a tarp until the start of bike season, when sales really take off, but everyone said “not in my backyard!”