LA CROSSE, Wis. (WCCO) – With technology advancing as fast as it is, it’s easy to just throw away electronics and appliances once they become old or have stopped working.

But one group is proving sometimes it just takes the right ingredients for something to work like new again.

It’s the same routine just about every night: grind the coffee, steam the milk and pour a couple dozen popular beverages from the menu.

But on this night, the Root Note Cafe in La Crosse serves up more than just the drinks to order. For a couple of hours once a month, local techies and engineers pull up a seat and set up shop – ready to fix just about anything.

It’s call the Repair Cafe.

Folks like radio technician Mike Baker, engineer Greg Siemens, Jim Cavanaugh and Stephanie Hanna all gather to fix just about anything that needs fixing. Table lamps, umbrellas, card tables, bikes, computers – you name it, they try to repair them.

Some of them are by no means experts, but fixing things is a hobby they enjoy.

“A lot of people don’t know how to fix things the way they used to,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s just sharing knowledge.”

And the Repair Cafe gives them the perfect outlet.

“Getting them together in a social setting, but also to get things fixed and, of course, the big idea is to recycle and reuse things instead of buying new,” Hanna said.

Some things may take longer to fix than others, while sometimes it just takes patience and a little tinkering for the light bulb to go off.

Then with a sip of their favorite drink, it’s off to the next thing that needs repair.

“We’re going to try a coffee pot next,” Siemens said.

The next Repair Cafe is scheduled for June 12. It’s free and opened to anyone looking to get something fixed or to share your expertise.


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