Have equipment, will travel: Concord Makerspace is looking for a new home

  • The former name of Concord Makerspace was Making Matters NH, shown here in 2021. MELISSA CURRAN

  • Jared Reynolds, President of Concord Makerspace, sits outside of its space in Penacook when the group was called Making Matters. The makerspace need about 5,000 square feet. Monitor file

Monitor staff
Published: 12/5/2022 6:58:29 PM
Modified: 12/5/2022 6:58:07 PM

Wanted: Funky industrial building somewhere around Concord, not too up-to-date, open to unorthodox usage. Contact the city’s homeless makerspace.

“We don’t need Class A manufacturing space. We need a building that doesn’t have as high a demand from a traditional business that could pay a high rent,” said Jared Reynolds, president of Concord Makerspace, which has left its first home in the Beede Electric building in Penacook and needs a new home. “We’re not seeing much opening up in Concord.”

The big drawback for Concord Makerspace, formerly known as Making Matters, seems to be that Concord wasn’t as much of a mill town as many other small New England cities. Empty mill buildings, often neglected for decades and therefore cheap to rent and not too picky about tenants’ activities, have been breeding grounds for makerspaces but they are hard to find nearby. 

Concord Makerspace hoped to move to NHTI, the community college, but the finances didn’t work out, Reynolds said.

Makerspaces are often described as membership gyms for do-it-yourselfers. Generally nonprofits 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. They have been in New Hampshire since 2010 when Nashua’s MakeIt Labs opened, and about 10 of various sizes and expertise now operate, from Keene to Portsmouth to Claremont to Wolfeboro.

Concord Makerspace opened in the old Beede Electric building just as the pandemic hit and shut everything down, but had rebounded with scores of paying members and a collection of equipment for woodworking, textiles, and even bicycle repair. Classes were being held and the word was spreading.

But Reynolds said problems with the long-empty Beede building, including a leaky roof, as well as the high utility use of a makerspace proved too much for them to stay. The equipment has been put into storage and the hunt for a new space was on.

“We are fortunate that we are in pretty good financial space” with Community Development Fund tax credits to buy equipment and a grant to hire a part-time employee next year, Reynolds said. “That will help us to grow and do more classes. As a volunteer organization that has always been a little challenging.”

For more information, check the website at https://concordmakerspace.org. If you’ve got an idea for a home, email info@makingmattersnh.org.

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, 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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