Location: Re-Inspiration Store
Date taken: September 25, 2012
Brooke Schultz tells the story of Re-Inspiration at least three times a week. The people who enter her shop on Highland Avenue often ask her about the store’s recycled gift items – where they came from, who made them, how they came up with the idea. It was in telling these stories over and over again that Brooke first realized the store’s true purpose and niche.
Brooke opened Re-Inspiration in 2009 on Atlanta’s westside as a sort of alternative to “paint your own pottery” shops. She jokingly called it “paint your own old stuff.” But as she found herself repeatedly telling the stories of the items that filled her store and told her own story, she realized her customers were drawn to these repurposed objects. Now, the store is full of unique gifts, all which have been recycled in some way. There is the jewelry made from soda can tabs, pitchers crafted from glass bottles, wallets sewn from airline seat covers, frames cut from vinyl records, various items accented with bullet casings (these Brooke does herself) and lots more.
A native of Bay St. Louis, Miss., repurposing items was something Brooke learned at an early age. Her mother, who ran a wild bird store, recycled household items long before it became the cool thing to do. Brooke remembers the compost pot in the kitchen and the line of homemade recycling bins in the garage. Anything that could be recycled was recycled.
As an adult, the habits of childhood continued. Brooke remodeled the spaces she lived in, repainted furniture for friends and figured out how to breathe new life into old, sentimental items. When she was laid off as a drug rep, Brooke just did what she had always done – she repurposed. This time the object was her career and the end result – doing what she loves as a small business owner.
Location: Intown Tumbling
Date taken: July 31, 2012
Chalk. Sweat. Gym mats. Those are the scents that send Kim Steen down memory lane. The Stone Mountain native spent most of her childhood and teenage years in competitive gymnasts. She would leave school early several days a week and head to the gym for five hours of practice. On the weekends, she traveled with her Atlanta School of Gymnastics teammates to competitions. For Kim, the gym was her second home. Her teammates and coaches, who she called by their first names, became part of her family.
When I asked Kim why she first fell in love with gymnastics, she replied, “Who doesn’t love to flip?” When I asked Kim why she loves teaching gymnastics, she said, “I love helping kids get stronger, more flexible, improve their coordination and just have fun.”
As soon as her competitive gymnastics career ended at age 18, Kim started teaching gymnastics. And, two years ago, after recognizing that there were no gymnastics classes being offered in town, she started Intown Tumbling. Now, Kim teaches gymnastics (and yoga) in a non-competitive environment and creates a community for her students that is similar to the one of her childhood gym — but in a more intimate setting. She said, “I want this to be a place where kids feel good about themselves and welcome.”
Intown Tumbling, located in the Poncey-Highlands neighborhood, offers classes for kids ages 2-14, summer camps, yoga and birthday parties.
Location: Highland Avenue during Atlanta Streets Alive
Date taken: May 20, 2012