A ribbon-cutting ceremony and press conference was held on Friday, November 16th at 9:30 AM in the new MADE makerspace located at 5127 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO, exactly one year after TechShop went dark in Cortex. The community was invited back into a new, larger makerspace housed in a 1920’s Ford dealership building. The new makerspace is the result of the creativity and foresight of Dennis Lower, Jim Mckelvey, and Doug Auer, and offers a chance for makers to continue what was started at Cortex. Within hours after TechShop closed its doors for good, Third Degree Glass Factory and Square Co-Founder Jim McKelvey, Third Degree Co-Founder Doug Auer, and Cortex President and CEO Dennis Lower began laying plans to create a new makerspace. “Innovation is a process of trial and error driven by an entrepreneurial spirit. Last November, St. Louis was faced with a challenge to resurrect a maker space where makers of all ages could continue to build their dreams. Through a collaborative effort, one year later we have met that challenge and are launching a more robust maker space for our entrepreneurs and hobbyists,” said Jim McKelvey. Within days of the TechShop closing, Cortex put out a call to regional makers and convened a special Venture Café Gathering session where a plan was unveiled to find a new makerspace home. “We were all shocked, particularly our maker community, a number of whom had started businesses at TechShop and now faced the uncertainty of filling orders going into the holidays. With outstanding management provided by Third Degree Glass Factory, we were able to keep the makerspace open through the end of last year, and pledged to create an even better 2.0 makerspace going forward,” said Dennis Lower.
Over the last year, Third Degree Glass Factory, St. Louis’s first glass art maker studio and education center, has guided the process of acquisition and renovation of the 5127 Delmar building and turned it into MADE ’s new home ( M akers, A rtists, D esigners, and E ntrepreneurs ). Doug Auer is directing the day-to-day efforts to open the new makerspace. Doug says, “It was the serendipitous convergence of the right people, resources, organizations, and unbelievable timing that has turned lemons into lemonade. The Delmar location is nearly twice as large as the original space, allowing us to partner with The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum to amplify MADE ’s mission and impact.” Prior to the closure of TechShop, Magic House President Beth Fitzgerald began discussions with Cortex on what could be done together to establish a St. Louis City presence to serve urban children. After Fitzgerald and Lower considered a number of options and locations, the MADE opportunity emerged and the decision became clear – join with Third Degree and Cortex to co-locate The Magic House’s permanent City location in the MADE space.
The Magic House will provide STEAM programming to elementary and middle school students, stimulating their creativity and imagination year-round. “We are honored to join the MADE team of committed community leaders. We share both their desire to support our future generation of makers, artists, designers and entrepreneurs, as well as their passion to give back to the St. Louis community,” said Beth Fitzgerald, President of The Magic House.
Over a hundred people showed up for the grand opening, and enjoyed coffee, breakfast pastries, and equipment demonstrations by MADE employees and volunteers. The space was well-lit, open, and maintained the vintage vibe of the repurposed building. 3D-printed money clips, MADE-branded canvas tote bags, and other goodies were available for the eager crowds to take home as souvenirs. There was a palpable excitement in the air, and the space is only half-completed. The first floor is complete, and filled to the brim with CNC routers, laser cutters and engravers, sewing machines, 3D printers, and all manner of other industrial-technological machines. The offerings are impressive to say the least. The second floor will be finished sometime next summer, where The Magic House will have their classrooms and spaces to be utilized by children from elementary to high school. This is an exciting time for the city of St. Louis, and we strongly encourage you to go by the new MADE and check it out.
For more information visit: www.madestl.com
Updated by Mike A. Bryan from a previous press release
Photos: Cortex Staff Rendering: Courtesy of The Magic House/ MADE