Getting to Know: Patrick Evans
Founder of Sault Tool Library
As technology advances, society is becoming more and more reliant on tools to get through everyday life — including tools we never thought we’d even have to use, which ultimately creates an ongoing cycle of material waste. For Sault Ste. Marie entrepreneur Patrick Evans, the idea of mass consumerism and waste go hand-in-hand, prompting him to create Sault Tool Library, a library that loans tools instead of books. “I’m doing this because lower income people whose lives could be most improved with access to these are also the ones most limited by their cost. It will also be environmentally friendly as it will teach people how to repair their belongings instead of throwing them away and buying new ones,” he states.
Like many of us have before, Patrick found himself in a situation where he needed a specific tool to complete a task, and unlike many people, not only did he have the tool, but he also had the knowledge of how to use it. “I’ve always known my friend to be a very capable person with knowledge in a wide range of subjects so it surprised me when they asked for my help in finding a certain type of saw and how to use it,” he says. “The saw they needed was a jigsaw, a tool I’d had around my home and used since I was a child, I then realized that all of this training I’d received from a young age was far from common. What made me passionate about this was looking back on all the things I’ve been able to do and people I’ve been able to help just because of this basic knowledge and access to the correct tools. I’ve fixed cars, bikes, guitars, radios, jewellery, electronics, I’ve built toys, furniture, gardens, electric circuits, all because of the right tools and a little bit of teaching.”
Patrick gained the knowledge of social entrepreneurship with an experience at The Gore Street Cafe, where he reapplied what it was to be an entrepreneur, but also how to balance time and everyday life. Moreover, Patrick was given the tools (no pun intended) to understand how to make a big impact with a little space (literally). “A big selling point of the tool library for a lot of people is that they won’t have to find space to store tools in their own homes, but it now means that I’m finding space for the equivalent of several homes worth of tools,” he says. “With normal storage for most tools it’s a very two-dimensional idea, like hanging things on walls, but when there’s this much you really need to plan for it in three dimensions or run quickly out of space.”
With a team of like-minded individuals around him who he says is one part of success alongside great planning, Patrick plans on opening more Sault Tool Libraries across the community, as well as investing in other social organizations when the time permits. If you’d like to get involved with Sault Tool Library, not only can you physically join the library and have access to tools, classes and volunteer opportunities (166 Gore Street, Sault Ste. Marie), but you can also find them on Facebook.
Story Written by Erin Ashley
Patrick is a participant in the Hook It Up program delivered by Socent7. Hook It Up is a support program for young social entrepreneurs in Ontario. Learn more at www.hookitup.ca.