Veronica Spencer
Engineer, Designer, and Maker
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The Fix-Up Truck

A mobile repair cafe enabling the Buford Highway community to rent tools, to learn hands-on skills, and to share sustainable practices. This idea was a product of the Generator Workshop course led by Ryan Gravel in Fall 2017.

How It Works

How It Works

The Fix-Up Truck is a mobile tool library staffed with paid multilingual mentors. Material prices and tool rentals are offered at a subsidized cost, and patrons fix their own items with support from mentors. There are 3 modes of operation for the Fix-Up Truck, modeled after those of food trucks:

1-on-1 Transaction: Users pay per service; the truck is in a public area.

Private Event: An apartment complex pays a lump sum to reserve the truck for a set time and duration. Repairs are "free" for participants of that event.

Free Event: It makes appearances at local festivals and events, offering services for free in exchange for free advertising.

The Precedent

The Precedent

Repair Cafes are gatherings of volunteers and community members to fix broken items, generally held in a makeshift location. Tools and knowledge are provided exclusively by volunteers, meaning inconsistent services and reliability based on attendance.


• Repair Cafes are disproportionately attended by older adults, with most participants in 2016 being 55+.
• According to a study at Farnham Repair Cafe, 94% of visitors were satisfied with the services provided, and over 60% stated that being engaged in the process of repair had made them more likely to attempt repair by themselves in the future.
• In 2016, the 5 categories of items most frequently repaired were:
kitchen appliances, household appliances, lamps/lighting, DVDs/CD players, and clothing.

Creating Employment Opportunities: Mentors

Creating Employment Opportunities: Mentors

Mentors are hired from the Northeast Atlanta community based entirely on curiosity/willingness to learn, and customer service skills - not on technical hands-on repair skills. Multilingual mentors are particularly valuable.


Via a partnership with local makerspaces, the hirees will undergo basic hands-on training, spanning roughly a week. New mentors will learn machine safety, operational processes, and common repair tactics. Mentors will also be introduced to additional resources for uncommon repairs. After training, Mentors will be scheduled for operations, as regular hourly employees, where they can share their training with the community.

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholder Analysis

The Fix-Up Truck has a wide range of influence across multiple different types of stakeholders, but there are 4 major categories: investors, regulators, employees, and customers.


Because the Fix-Up Truck is a mobile business, it will rely on many of the policies in place governing mobile business like food trucks. Specific ordinances that should be planned for are those relating to parking and OSHA.

 

Start-up of this non-profit should include several large endowments from different places - including local businesses and corporations, especially companies like the Home Depot, which is headquartered in Atlanta and values civic contribution.

Where Does It Go?

Where Does It Go?

The Fix-Up Truck has a fluid location of operation, with potential bases including private and commercial properties spread throughout the Buford Highway corridor. As a result, the services offered by the truck are able to reach some of the most underserved communities of Buford Highway - isolated and impoverished families who lack regular transportation.