In doing research for MIXXER I took a drive out to Greensboro tonight to check out The Forge – Greensboro’s new maker/hacker space. Their grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday July 22. I have to tell ya – That place is super cool. From the custom made doors and architectural features, to the back-yard canopy that is truly a work of art, the style of the place screams inspiration and ingenuity. Their arsenal of tools is small at the moment, but they are still setting up so that is no surprise. One of the nicest features is the uber-cozy back room complete with a mix of art deco and craftsman furniture, handmade art pieces, and of course a plethora of high-tech tools, including a 3D printer. The only downside I can see to the place is that it’s so comfy-cozy that people may be just chillin’ too much to get any work done.
But all of that hip décor and high-tech equipment is not what I consider the greatest asset to The Forge. The greatest asset of The Forge is the people. Co-Founder Mario Aldayuz told me an abridged version of how the Forge came into being, here’s a quick synopsis:
In January 2013 Joseph Adams sent word out via the internet that he wants to gather a group of people to open a makers space in Greensboro. He went to a local coffee shop and waited. It didn’t take long before this became a regular occurrence, and Joseph found he was not alone in his vision to create a makers space. Greensboro Hackerspace was born – in a coffee shop by a small group of guys sitting around talking and planning. An amazing thing happened – these guys started paying membership dues before any equipment was procured, before a space was found or developed. These guys believed in this plan enough to invest in it with little to no guarantee that it would work. Now one and a half years later The Forge, formerly known as Greensboro Hackerspace, is opening their doors to the public.
There is one other great story about the power of people and their commitment to the project. The fantastic space that houses The Forge – right in some of the most desirable real estate in Greensboro- was provided at a very reasonable rate by a local entrepreneur and real estate developer. I’ll not share his name until I get his approval, but this guy believes in the concept and the people of The Forge enough to foot the bill on the upfit of this beautiful old building. (It’s beautiful now, but it was in rough shape a year ago) This forward thinking developer sees the potential in a place like The Forge, and he put his money down to prove it.
People investing in their own future, in their community; this is one of the greatest things about maker spaces and places of that type. Leveraging the power of sharing and community to make a better world – that’s what I’m talkin’ about.