The Coolest Gear Repair Shop in the U.S.
Nancy Ford runs the kind of store we all wish we had in our neighborhood. For two years now, she and her staff at the Repair Lair in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have repaired thousands of outdoor items, giving everything from bike shoes to sleeping bags a new life. All day long customers wander in with gear that needs some love. In the winter, it’s often a torn or burnt down coat. During the summer she sees a lot of broken zippers. (The store has done more than 500 zipper repairs this year alone.) She’s self taught, and she’s passed everything she’s learned onto her employees. “I try to fix what I have because I’m a cheap-ass, not because I’m green,” she says. “Spend less on gear, more on beer.” To find out what her repair and consignment shop looks like on the inside, we sent local photographers Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber to check it out.
Various used backpacks line the wall at the Repair Lair. The store will also repair mailed-in gear.
The exterior of the Repair Lair on Lake Street in Minneapolis. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. You can find them on Facebook.
Nancy Ford’s desk at the Repair Lair.
A colorful array of zippers hangs on the wall in the shop.
Alex Jacobson repairs a suitcase.
Jacobson prepares to patch a tent.
An assortment of used, repaired bike shoes on sale.
Repair Lair owner Nancy Ford and her dog Lucy.
Jacobson inspects a tent for tears.