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Learning from Scratch has hundreds of unusual, re-claimed, affordable materials perfect for education, art, crafts, hobbies and more!

The materials we carry come from many companies in the West Michigan area.  We have created partnerships with these manufacturers to keep these items out of the waste stream and provide them to the community.

Learning from Scratch is a non-profit organization run by a small team of volunteers.  We keep a retail store space on 28th Street.  The proceeds from our shop help fund us to continue to pick up and provide these materials to community groups, schools, and individuals.

Come and visit us today! Our store is located at:

1454 28th Street (Inside the Comprenew Store)

Grand Rapids, MI 49508

 Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00am - 6:00pm

Contact us at:

Our Story

It began with Betsey Hamm in 1999.  As a teacher she knew the need for affordable classroom supplies and materials.  She was known to "dumpster dive" on occasion.  The treasures she rescued led to creative projects for her students.

 It didn't take long for her to formulate an idea to approach area companies and request donations.  The response was overwhelming!  Before long, many companies and manufacturers in West Michigan were offering them their "cast off" materials (ones left over from their manufacturing) and Betsey began sharing the wealth.

 After her teaching career, she continued to grow Learning from Scratch.  She has been in several locations over the years and currently the "store" is located within the Comprenew store on 28th street in Grand Rapids. (for hours and directions visit our Contact page)

 Betsey has a passion for her community, education, creativity, and recycling which is why at 72 years young she is still managing the organization.  She and her volunteer crew work 6 days a week to pick up, deliver, and sort all types of items and materials.

Our Materials

Here you can see some examples of materials in the store.  Presently, you can only make purchases at our retail space.  Most of our items are sold "by the bag" so you can mix and match!  We do offer individually priced items as well.

Please note that we cannot guarantee the availability of materials in the store.  Some items we get in very limited quantities and will not receive again.  If you see it in the store, get it!

Our store is not staffed, it is a self-serve type of place!  Please take your purchases to the Comprenew register to check out.

We have so many different materials in the store such as:

Paper & Cardboard

Fabric, Yarn, Leather, and Felt


Laminate, Tiles, & Granite Samples


Bottle Caps & Plastic Pieces

We LOVE to educate!

We would love to have your group come and visit us!  Presently, visits to the store must be during our regular store hours.  We will work with the needs of your group to create a unique experience.  Use your trip for shopping and inspiration or information about our business. Contact us for details and scheduling!

Creative projects made with our materials!

We love to see the creations made with our materials. Send us pictures to share and inspire others!