Repair cafe coming to rescue in Millersburg

Kick-off event set for November 3 at Library

By Jacob Mahaffey
The Budget

Put in the bread.
Press down the lever.
A few minutes pass and you smell something burning.
Oh, that’s just your breakfast because the toaster failed, again. Now the smoke alarm is blaring its sign of doom. You look at your cup of coffee and sigh before sending yourself a note to pick up a new toaster. Then you start looking for hot pads to take the smoking beast outside to the trash can at the curb.
You, yes you.
But wait, don’t throw away that broken toaster just yet because the Repair Café is coming to Millersburg.
What exactly is the Repair Café? “People who like to fix things, fix things for people who walk in the door,” explained Mark Tillack, the driving force behind the Millersburg event. The idea for the Repair Café started in 2009 in the Netherlands and has spread around the world since then. “The basic idea is that a space is found for use at no charge such as a church hall, a date is picked, volunteers to fix things are rounded up, and a notice is posted around town inviting people to bring just about anything they have that might be able to be fixed to the event,” Tillack wrote in a letter to the Holmes County Commissioners. “Items like lamps, clocks, bicycles, furniture, and cloth items are all possibilities.”
Tillack noted that one of the casualties of modern society is how apt we are to discard items that don’t work anymore. He is trying to save household items from an early demise in the landfill. “A lot of this is because I’m earth-friendly,” he said. “I hate to see things that can be very simply repaired go to the dump.”
This is the advantage of the Repair Café. It connects people who know how to fix these items with people who need them fixed. Hopefully easing frustrations that Tillack has been hearing. “The sentiment I’m getting from people is that they’re frustrated that a lot of things are thrown away. Or they don’t have the skill to repair things,” he stated.
He noted that society as a whole has become so “here and now” that they don’t take the time to look at items that could possibly be fixed. “Many things get thrown away with the pace of one year,” he noted.
Tillack is trying to find volunteers to help with the event in Holmes County. “Currently, I’m actively looking for people who like to repair things,” he explained of the need for tinkering folk. “If you can fix things, sew things, know how items come apart and can be put back together, we need you.”
The café will be held on November 3 at the Holmes County Library in the lower meeting room. The event will run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free, however, donations will be welcomed. “If we need to run to the hardware store to get something, we might just take the money out of the donations,” Tillack added.
Tillack knows the outcome the Café will have on the community will be positive. “Items that were headed for the landfill are saved from an early grave. People get to feel good about helping other people. People in the community get out and meet other people in a friendly atmosphere. The awareness of the possibility of repairing items is awakened,” he explained. “This along with skills needed to repair items are shared and people empowered.”
Tillack, a musician and jack-of-all-trades, who does odd jobs for customers through HomeAdvisor, is excited to launch this world-wide movement in Holmes County. “I think it will work well here. I want to help people and the planet,” he explained. “If something breaks, I want people to look at the option of fixing it as opposed to going out and buying something new. We shouldn’t be a ‘throw it away’ society. People with practical knowledge are all around but we need to seek them out.”
If you would like to volunteer or have any questions about the event Tillack can be reached at by phone 330-377-4387 or via email to

This story originally appeared in the October 3, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.