Our thrift store is completely self sustainable and one of the biggest funders of The Orr Center. It opened in January of 2018. Thanks to generous donations from our community and greater Minnesota, the thrift store pays most of the operating costs of the center including electric, propane/wood heat, repairs, advertising, internet, legal, and accounting costs.
Art Gallery, Community Studio & Coffee Shop
The art gallery, studio and coffee shop opened in June of 2019. The purpose of the ORRiginality project is to CREATE an esthetically pleasing environment for community, learning and creativity. PROMOTE all art as a form of self-expression, mental/emotional health, and discovery. SUPPORT local artists from the youngest to the oldest who enhance our community with their work. ENCOURAGE positive, healthy, sustainable: living, creating and art. TEACH the arts to improve the lives of youth and others, particularly those in crisis or at risk. The coffee shop began as an on your honor coffee cart with the hopes of raising enough money to get the old concession counter up to code. This will be an ongoing project but eventually the coffee shop will be a place for locals and tourists to visit, read, play chess or checkers, enjoy a light meal or treat, work on puzzles, and just relax on a rainy day with a delicious cup of cappuccino, espresso, hot tea or a good old fashioned cup of Joe.
Gift & Candy Store
The Mercantile project is a revival of the old Mercantile on the main street in Orr. Here you will find handmade gifts from local artisans and an old fashioned candy counter. Do you remember choosing your candy by the piece as a wide eyed child standing in front of the candy counter? The decision was one of delicious torture. Relive that tradition and introduce your children to the fun of filling a bag with exactly what you want. While the kids choose their candy, browse our wide selection of soaps, signs, doll & child dresses, aprons, fishing & duck decoys, photographs & cards, wooden pens, embroidered goods, quilts, jewelry and more! The best part is your purchase supports The Orr Center!
Antique & Junk Store
The Rusty Pelican is a junk and antique lovers dream. Here you can find any and everything vintage! Opened the summer of 2019, The Rusty Pelican offers everything from dishes to books, from furniture to clothes, and vintage metal, wood, paper, and pottery treasures.
Lions Club Medical Loan Closet
The local Lions Club has worked hard to collect used medical equipment for our community to use free of charge. The Medical Loan closet offers medical beds, crutches, wheel chairs, shower seats, canes and anything else you can think of. These items can cost a lot when you are already paying for a medical emergency, or they can be applied to high deductibles. The loan closet works just like a library. You borrow what you need and return it when you are finished. What an awesome service offered to our community!
Buck-A-Book Scholarship Project For Youth Volunteers
The Orr Center strives to support our community and that includes our younger population. We encourage middle and high school students, sports teams and other youth organizations to donate their time at The Center. Not only will they learn valuable life skills and improve their resumes, our youth volunteers have a chance at earning a college scholarship each year. Starting in 2020, we will fund raise with our Buck a Book program. All the paperback books in the thrift store are available for $1. The first $250 of our Buck a Book program will be awarded to one lucky youth volunteer per year! The scholarship will go to the middle or high school volunteer with the most volunteer hours. We have a number of ways our youth can contribute to the community. Library, donation sorting, working with younger kids, thrift store, gallery, maintenance and carpentry projects are just a few opportunities.
The goal of our aquaponics project is to teach a sustainable method of food production. The method uses organic fish waste to grow organic vegetables and greens indoors, without soil, under LED lighting. The fish can be anything from goldfish to tilapia. We have recently transitioned from aquaponics (uses fish) to hydroponics (no fish) because we have run into issues keeping the fish alive. We are learning as we go so we can share the best methods with the community.
Bee Keeping Project
In 2019, the Orr Center added bees to our growing list of sustainability projects! We started with one nucleus colony of Canadian Buckfast honey bees from John Swanson. We keep our bee hive on the roof for the protection of the bees and people. Our bees can travel approximately two miles each day to gather pollen. Buckfast are hybrid bees that are resistant to mites and do well in colder climates. Our goal is to learn how to raise bees so we can share that information with you!
Our community library was one of the Center's first projects. Opened in May 2018, we offer books, magazines, DVDs and VHS to check out. If you borrow an item from our library, please make sure to sign it out in the thrift store. When you are ready to return it, simply sign it back in in the thrift store. We are looking for a donor to sponsor a library check out system, if you are interested please contact Wendy at The Center! We now have internet and WiFi available in the building. Our next library project is to add two computers with a printer for the community to use. Another project in the works is a Little Free Library at the center. We need creative volunteers to weatherproof and paint a cabinet. We have the books, this project could be completed in as little as a week!
Orr Heritage Museum Project
One of our visions of the future involves our community's history. The Mankus family, Syvilla Shermer, and others donated extensive amounts of Orr memorabilia. Our plan is to convert the cafeteria hallway on the main floor of the old school into an Orr Heritage Museum. The plan is to replace all lockers with built in glass cases to display and protect historical items. We hope that other community members are willing to share their family artifacts so we can tell the complete story of Orr. To begin this important project we need volunteers with skills to create the wood and glass cases and we need donors to fund the project. If you are interested in participating in the museum project, please contact us!
Community education is the heart of the Orr Center. Our community has a wealth of knowledge that should be shared with others. The Orr Center is the place to teach and learn. Currently we are able to offer classes on sustainable living, arts and crafts, firearm use and safety, healthy living, cooking & canning, budgeting, basic computers, and tutoring for school aged children. We are looking for instructors, if you are interested in sharing your knowledge please contact us. We are also asking the community what type of classes they would like us to offer. Please watch our homepage for our calendar of events.
Food Pantry Project
The Orr Center has formed a committee of local pastors, business leaders, and residents to create a community assistance food program. The goal is to not only provide tangible products, but to educate and assist families with resources to improve their situations. More information to come as the project is created.