Concord’s makerspace is looking for a new home

  • Jared Reynolds, president of the Concord Makerspace, sits outside of the building in Penacook on Feb. 24, 2021. Monitor file

  • Making Matters NH President, Jared Reynolds, sitting on a couch in the lounge on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. MELISSA CURRAN

  • A 3-D printed pig at Making Matters NH in Penacook. Monitor file

  • Making Matters NH framed logo in Penacook on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. MELISSA CURRAN

Monitor staff
Published: 5/20/2022 1:28:41 PM

Having survived and grown after a terribly timed beginning — doors opened just as the pandemic hit — Concord’s makerspace is ready for its next phase and is looking to move out of the old Beede Electric Building in Penacook.

“It is a good launching place to get started, but it’s not ideal for a makerspace,” said Jared Reynolds, president of Concord Makerspace, formerly known as Making Matters NH. He pointed to issues with heating, the roof and the “odd layout” of the former manufacturing facility, all of which led the group to seek a new home when the lease ends in September. “We’re looking for something that’s a little bit better designed for us.”

Makerspaces are often described as membership gyms for do-it-yourselfers. Nonprofits usually run by volunteers, they feature tools and workspaces for use by members and the public, along with classes and training and a sense of community.

There are at least 10 makerspaces currently active in New Hampshire, from Keene to the Seacoast to the Lakes Region. They are of various sizes and offer differing strengths that can include small-business incubation, and often join forces or trade expertise. Making Matters has about 50 current members who use its woodshop, machine shop, bicycle-repair facilities and textile equipment, and offers public classes in topics such as learning to sew and using a 3-D printer.

It has an operating budget of about $60,000, Reynolds said, and has used various grants and tax credits to purchase equipment.

“We have really strong prototyping, but our machine shop is not as strong as other makerspaces,” said Reynolds. “There’s potential to collaborate with other makerspaces.”

Reynolds said the group would really like to buy a building and had been in negotiations to purchase a former funeral home in Penacook until it ran into problems fitting into residential zoning.

Reynolds said the group would like to lease between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet, with some office space and room for light manufacturing.

“We’ve had quite a bit of outreach. We think we’ll find a good space,” he said.

Beede Electrical Instrument Co. built the Fisherville Road plant in 1957. At its peak it had more than 700 employees making precision industrial instrumentation. The plant closed in 2014 after years of decline and was empty for a half-dozen years.

For more information, check the website:

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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