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Author Topic: considering building a large Maker Space  (Read 406 times)

johnbentcope

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considering building a large Maker Space
« on: December 02, 2015, 05:04:38 PM »
I believe you are a 501 organization. I like your operation. I am looking for information, advice, and/or partners to build an all-purpose maker/work site maybe similar but smaller than http://www.Techshop.com with 7+ locations (20,000+/- sf). The HQ is in San Francisco with shops in the USA. Orlando's could be one of the largest or the largest. It would be full service with continual training. There will have to be a need and market for it, of course. I have built commercial buildings and with 504 financing can build to suit for the new Maker center in Orlando if there is a need and market. I am also an inventor and could be a partner in the Maker business as well as the property. I am looking for the right teams for both projects. If there is an interest, or not, please let me know and if you have any referrals that might be interested I would be glad to discuss the possibilities.Thanks.

Bob Williams
I like colors.

johnbentcope

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Re: considering building a large Maker Space
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2015, 10:43:34 PM »
Hello Bob,


I appreciate you reaching out to us, and I'd be happy to offer some advice personally. I've also forwarded your questions on to our group, to field a greater diversity of answers, and if that proves fruitful, I'll forward those on to you.


FamiLAB is a DBA of Orlando Hackerspaces LLC, a registered 501c3 non-profit. We currently have a 6000 square foot space outside of the Orlando city limits, in nearby Longwood. The path to this location and status has been a long one, and one driven by organic growth. Originally in an 800sqft storage unit, FamiLAB found quickly how hard it can be to make rent by building infrastructure first. We collapsed into a 400sqft space, and occupied that for two years, growing a community of productive and motivated individuals interested not only in tools, but collaboration and community building. After that space had become quite cramped for a long time, we were offered a very good rate on a new location, a 4000sqft warehouse. This larger space required negotiations and compromises between the landlord, the membership, and the LLC as a whole. After another two years, a similar offer was extended to what is now our current location. We would not have been able to afford our current space if much of the work was not done by members themselves. One benefit of being nearby to Orlando proper, but not within the city itself, has been incredible savings on property costs. I doubt that we would have achieved the same success if we were required to shoulder the costs associated with operating within a bustling metropolitan area.


Growing to our size has not been easy, and it most assuredly was not quick. To support our size, the 501c3 status has been essential to our funding, donations, and interactions with local businesses. Our membership works very hard to educate the community about the tools we have and techniques to use them, providing an education station for the greater Orlando area, and a facility dedicated to self-actualization and self-improvement. The membership does this on an entirely volunteer basis, because there is a strong sense of community and a belief in the core mission. If we were to pay all of these instructors for their time and expertise, the cost would be beyond what we can sustain with the current market and membership. Our community has built itself, and built the facilities that it occupies, and we are going strong after six years.


I vehemently support the mission of Hackerspaces and Maker Spaces, and the services they provide to their communities, but it seems that the most successful, longest running, and largest organizations have grown organically over several years. If your model presents itself as one with a need to start off large and well-equipped, I'd encourage you to seek guidance from organizations following that model. Orlando recently was graced by a new space, Factur, who is doing just that. They have a beautifully outfitted shop with a myriad of high-quality machines and a growing community that is working towards supporting it. They can be reached at info@factur.org and on the phone at (407) 801-3228. We have also helped The Melrose Center get off the ground in a local library system providing Makerspace style education to anybody with a library card.


Our space is open every first Tuesday of the month in the evening for interested parties. It's our monthly Open House. I'd encourage you to stop by and see what we're up to and what our space is like in person.


Thank you,





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John  Bent  Cope
john@familab.org
PERSON  @  LARGE
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I like colors.