a joined the Significant Element team in January as a retail associate. Geneva said, “This position has been really interesting. It has changed the way I think about so many objects I have previously overlooked. Let's just say, I will never look at a door hinge the same way again. ” Geneva’s mom was the former owner of Mama Goose & Mimi’s Attic and safe to say that the importance of reuse runs deep in her family. She mentioned the significance her mother’s career had on her. “It was through her that I became attuned to the historical and sentimental value that objects can hold, and the importance of cycling them through the community.”
Geneva enjoys creating the displays and vignettes you see throughout the store, which is not an easy task when the inventory is constantly changing. She has challenged herself to find the unique items that she likes most and display them in a way that will showcase them, making them interesting to potential customers. She has been learning very fast, and said, “There is a lot of detailed and technical knowledge that is required for the job. It’s a lot of information that is very new to me, but observing and learning from my co-workers helps me feel like I am improving every day.”
She is motivated to come to work because “I genuinely believe in the mission of Significant Elements” and she noted, “I learn so much throughout my day; genuinely practical and transferable skills that I know I will benefit from for a long time.” On Geneva’s days off, you will find her cooking, reading, or spending time with friends and family. Using all her reuse skills, Geneva has recently begun the hobby of weaving entry rugs from recycled fabric.
Geneva really is an exemplary example of how a community can support one another through reuse. She embodies the lifestyle both at home and while at work. She remarked, “I think it is a beautiful thing when a place of commerce and the community can be mutually beneficial. Customers are able to incorporate elements of history into and make improvements on their homes while simultaneously sustaining the system that made it possible. Growing up in Ithaca we all have seen in one place or another, the prevalence of demolition and new construction. In the midst of this, there are people who believe in preservation, deconstruction, and salvage as a means of keeping their history alive and reducing waste. With grassroots movements such as this one that are maybe environmentally rather than capitalistically incentivized, it is often difficult to feel heard. Historic Ithaca does really exciting work acting as a figurehead for these voices. Personally, as a member of this community, I feel privileged to have an organization dedicated to fighting for this cause, because it’s not one that every community has.”
Fun Fact: Geneva’s dad had a small role in “Legally Blonde” *Bend and Snap!*