Athens MakerSpace and a new store called “ReUse on Union” are now open at 751 W. Union St. in Athens, according to a news release.
The 5,000-square-foot Athens Makerspace provides tools, workspace and classes in woodworking, metalworking, fabric-fiber arts, 3D printing, sustainable design and other creative disciplines. The makerspace offers memberships for those who want regular access to tools and workspaces as well as classes and events available to both members and non-members, the release said.
ReUse on Union – a new store established to help support the makerspace and ReUse workforce training programs – provides fabric, yarn, sewing supplies, books, art and vintage clothing.
“Athens Makerspace provides makers in Athens County with a first-rate community location to make, fix, upcycle, learn and teach,” ReUse Board President Brian Vadakin said in the release. “We’re so grateful to ReUse CEO Zach Holl, ReUse staff and our supporters and partners, without whom the makerspace wouldn’t be a reality. We can’t wait to see Athens Makerspace become a hub of creative making activity and a much-needed resource for those who want to start product-based businesses in the region we serve.”
ReUse CEO Holl also spoke about the new facility.
“This is truly a community-based effort because it simply is not possible without community support,” Holl said in the release, citing donors and shoppers who support ReUse retail outlets. “Now, along with our successful Columbus Road thrift store, we have ReUse on Union to provide community access to high-quality donated goods in niche categories as well as our online store, Athens FabMaker on www.etsy.com, which provides high-end and vintage fabric to artists and designers around the world.”
In the release, Luke Black, Athens MakerSpace manager, added, “We’ve been overwhelmed by interest and support from hundreds of people following our start-up story on social media and helping us get this great new space up-and-running.”
The first round of tool-safety orientation classes are already scheduled, with other skill-building and business development classes to be scheduled soon, according to the news release. Community members can propose classes they want to teach through a form available on the makerspace website.
Erin Hogan, retail and production manager, highlighted the importance of upcycled products to sustainable economic development in our region. “We’re already serving many creative people who obtain discarded materials from us and successfully make and sell upcycled products,” he said in the release. “Now, with our new space and expanded access to materials, we are soon launching upcycled product training and laying plans for an expansion of our store to provide space for locally-made upcycled products.”
Holl said there’s too many people and organizations to thank who helped with the launch of the new facility and store.
In addition to material, financial and volunteer contributions from hundreds of area residents, Holl cited support from the Sugar Bush Foundation, the Athens Foundation, the Charles G. O’Bleness Foundation, the William Beale Legacy Fund, the One Foundation, the Central Appalachian Network, the Appalachian Regional Commission and June Holley; partnerships with Rural Action, Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and Ohio University’s LIGHTS initiative; and assistance from about a dozen other makerspaces in North America.
Jen Simon, executive director of regional innovation at OU, leads the LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network in which ReUse is a partner. Other makerspaces that are LIGHTS partners include the IDEA Lab at Zane State College and the Epicenter in Marietta, Ohio.
“Our team is excited to see what will happen next at MakerSpace,” Simon said in the release. “Several potential members have expressed interest in starting and growing businesses through their use of the Athens MakerSpace. We cannot be happier than to see this new opportunity exist for our region’s makers.”
More information is available at www.athensohiomakerspace.com and the Athens Ohio MakerSpace and ReUse on Union Facebook pages.