Dawn McCombs found some old records in an alley, so she turned them into cover art on journals. It was only natural that McCombs based her Short North shop, Glean on upcycling.

It's reusing an item that would otherwise be discarded and turning it into something new. You don't always have to know the plan for things at first. People are having fun and thinking about recycling and reusing, but not in a heavy-hearted way. It makes people think twice about the disposal society we live in.

How do you draw upcycling inspiration?

I get my main inspiration from going to flea markets. Also, it's meeting people in general and sharing ideas. People say, "My mom died, and I have a whole garage of plates and bottles. What can I do with them?" Then we start chatting and sharing ideas. Everyone has that creative spark in them.

Describe the Glean experience for customers.

I wanted to create a shopping environment that was earth-friendly and unique. Eighty-five percent of the people whose items are in the store are just making things for Glean. They're not mass-producing. Everything is one-of-a-kind. It's very local.