“We have lots of architectural items,” Plyer said. “In the form of doors, windows, newel posts, stained glass.”“We have a wedding registry as well,” said Carmichael. “If you’re a vintage lover, come pick what you want and we set it up in a display. We will make a tea towel with the couple’s names on it. All our tea towels sold right now benefit Relay for Life with their proceeds.”
Nancy Meyer finds boxes of expensive Italian tile on a shelf at Community Forklift. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Meyer’s part-time job eventually became a full-time mission to get the nonprofit off the ground. She negotiated with the landlord for a lower rent, cleaned up the store, created guidelines to standardize prices and designed internal structures that would make operations more efficient. Because Community Forklift couldn’t afford advertising, she launched a grass-roots marketing campaign to educate the community about environmental issues and promote the nonprofit. Community Forklift still hosts educational programs, including monthly arts festivals and DIY reuse workshops.