Yesterday, I was exposed to a most amazing “workspace for makers and artists”
My friend Roger Conner randomly sent me a text last week.
He and I have not connected in a while, and I always enjoy spinning ideas with him, so I accepted his invitation without having any inkling of the purpose of the meeting.
We agreed to meet at 2:00 yesterday, and he suggested we meet at “The Loading Dock“. I had no clue what that was, but WAZE knows where it is, so I embarked on this journey into the unknown.
When I turned in to the gravel driveway, I saw a very random collection of interesting looking buildings. It was not easy for me to even hazard a guess as to what this place was about. I couldn’t help but notice the Billboard in the sky above the main building . . . It said “Throw Axes & Drink Beer”.
Turns out that was only one of many businesses within this dissonant campus. There was an “Apple Store”, an RV rental operation, and “The Loading Dock” which turned out to be a very cool coffee joint.
I didn’t see Roger, so I sat and cleared my voice mail, sent a few text messages, and soaked in the ambiance of the place. I overheard a couple guys in conversation about some very intricate measurements relating to some kind “built-in benches” for a house . . . These 2 guys were definitely not the ordinary “Trim Carpenter” type . . . They were definitely “Artists”. I would later learn that they are “Makers” . . . People who make those things that solve everyday issues for ordinary people.
@ 2:30 – still no sign of Roger, so I sent him a text: “Am I in the right place?”
Indeed, I was. Roger showed up and invited me into a most interesting workshop.
You know those times when you ask yourself: “I wonder why someone hasn’t thought of building this thing that serves a functional purpose AND it aesthetically pleasing?”
Yeah! This place is “Ground Zero” for some very talented makers and artists.
If you can imagine it, they can (will) build it right there – Wood, Plastic, Metal . . . You tell them what problem you want solved, and they’ll design and build it . . . beautifully!
These amazing humans pay a “Subscription Fee” for the use of top notch equipment to create things that are literally “one of a kind”. The name of this place is:
My friend Roger is doing some fabulous woodwork – a guitar stand – Music stands – beautiful kitchen cutting boards (made from scrap from other people’s projects).
These Makers/Artisans do this work because it’s the work they love . . . and they’ll build anything you can dream for a reasonable price.
So . . . Why did Roger invite me there (other than to catch up with each other)?
Turns out, these folks are facing the possibility they could lose the space they are in. They are a “Non-Profit Org” and do not have the funding to pay “market pricing” for rent. Roger and I talked about many different ways we could imagine solving this problem:
- A financial windfall from the ether would be nice but not a likely happening
- Of course, they could turn this operation into a “Business” which seems disingenuous in the sense that the pressures of “normalcy” might spoil the creative vibe
- The REALTOR in me is wondering how many large warehouse of manufacturing buildings are sitting empty in Nashville. Some of these might have already been purchased for future development and could be 3-5 year locations for Fort Houston while the owners work on the design, funding, and zoning approval for their projects.
We didn’t find the solution yesterday, but I know we will when the time is right.
I hereby invite you to check it out. WAZE will take you there, and who knows . . . You might be inspired to stick around and try your hand at building some cool things.