Shawn Severinski and business partner Jeff Robertson shake hands in front of Rebuild Junction. The pair took over as owners when the Quesnel Shelter & Support Society was unable to fund the initiative for another year. Heahter Norman photo

Rebuild Junction gets second life with new owners

Co-owners Shawn and Jeff have been involved with the store since it was started as a non-profit

Shawn Severinski and Jeff Robertson have been with Rebuild Junction Secondhand Building Supply since it was started as a social enterprise by the Quesnel Shelter & Support Society.

When they found out the shelter society would be unable to get funding for it this year, and that Rebuild Junction would close its doors on April 17, the pair jumped to action.

Those involved in the program were devastated when they found out Rebuild Junction would be shuttering its doors.

“It was just decided, ‘OK, [the funding] is not going to go through,’” says Robertson. “And the next day we were out trying to find out how to [keep it open]. And within two weeks, we took over as owners — it was the only option, really.”

Rebuild Junction was started in an effort to support people in the community with barriers to employment by teaching them skills which would enable them to eventually become employed, as well as provide them with mentorship and a supportive community. The store sells second hand building supplies, and also works as an environmentally friendly program to reuse materials rather than send them to a landfill.

They also create custom woodworking projects out of the materials, including cabinets, shelves, crates, benches and more.

Severinski was out of work for 16 years when he first became involved with Rebuild Junction, due to problems with addictions and other issues. “I started [at Rebuild Junction] two years ago working with Amy [Quarry], and we took this place from the ground up, literally. The walls weren’t painted, there was nothing. We built the place.

“The first year it was kind of crazy, because we didn’t have much for shelves and whatnot, but — it built me up,” says Severinski. The program gave him employable skills, and also helped him get his driver’s licence. One of the people running the program encouraged him to get his licence, and the program helped play for some lessons to make it happen. With the help of the program, Severinski also got a job.

Currently off work on disability, he is one of the new owners of Rebuild Junction — now, technically, a business.

Jeff Robertson is the co-owner. Robertson started as a volunteer when the program first started.

He came in to run the wood shop, and things took off from there. Eventually, as more funding came in, Robertson went from a volunteer to a paid employee.

Robertson is also off work on disability, and originally began volunteering with the program as a way to get out in the community.

Now co-owners of the store, the pair have spent the last two weeks going around town, getting their business licence and opening a bank account. The community rallied around them — with their landlord giving them a year of free rent in order to stay open — and Rebuild Junction will see another day.

“It just fills your heart,” says Severinski.

Although it is now technically a business, the pair are working to keep as much as the old program in place as they can. Neither are expecting to make much of a profit, and both expect that they will largely be donating their time.

“It’s helping the community,” says Severinski.

Both say they can afford to spend most of their time at the store making very little money, and both are planning to continue with it for as long as possible.

The name of the of the business is also changing, from Rebuild Junction Secondhand Build Supply to Rebuild Junction: Custom Woodwork & Secondhand Supply.

Severinski says they have seen a couple people around the property trying to take firewood or other items, and when that happens they have a conversation and he offers them some small jobs to do around the shop instead.

One man was going through a pile of bent and rusted old nails, straightening them out and taking them home. When they noticed, Severinski and Robertson approached the man and told him when they get up and running, they could give him a call and get him to do some paid work for them in the store.

The program doesn’t just give people employable skills, says Severinski. “It gives people something to do, somewhere to go.”

And that’s what they’re hoping to continue with moving forward.

The pair are still working out the business side of things — neither have run one before — but both are determined to continue helping those who are down on their luck or out of work in whatever way they can, for as long as they can.

Now that they have sorted out most of the immediate business, the pair are working on some woodworking before they host a grand reopening on Saturday (April 27). Some of their woodwork includes a boat-themed wine rack, a shelf created by someone previously in the program, crates, a bench, and more. Severinski says some of their greatest inspiration comes from things they see on the internet, and that people are welcome to bring in a photo of something they would like to have custom made. If they have measurements, he adds, it’s even better.

Rebuild Junction: Custom Woodwork & Secondhand Supply will reopen on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m., and will continue to run during its regular hours.


Heather Norman
Community Reporter
Send Heather an email
Like the Quesnel Cariboo Observer on Facebook

 

Shawn Severinski builds a bench before the store’s grand re-opening on Saturday, April 27.

A boat-themed wine cabinet built by Shawn Severinski at Rebuild Junction.

A sign at Rebuild Junction.

Just Posted

Quesnel’s SAS launches new Life After 60 program

It will provide seniors the help they need to cover “medical priorities” they otherwise can’t afford

Happy Trails ahead for Quesnel mountain bikers

Construction is underway on five new trails in the Wonderland and Dragon Mountain networks

Quesnel RCMP still looking for witness to wheelchair turnover in West Quesnel

The man whose wheelchair rolled over on him has died

Thunderstorms in forecast for much of Cariboo Chilcotin

Special weather statements, concerns of flash flooding, for southern B.C. regions

GoFundMe started for family of Quesnel assault victim

Curtis Spencer was found severely injured on Callanan Street in North Quesnel in April

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Nisga’a Nation tourism industry hits the road

First pilot tour to the Nass Valley is set for this summer with Indigenous Tourism BC

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Most Read