On July 22nd the city of Greensboro North Carolina was host for the grand opening of “The Forge” NC’s newest maker space. It sits at the end of a street that in the past had suffered from decades of neglect and urban decay, now home to a micro brewery, upscale restaurants, an outdoor meeting space, and Greensboro’s first community maker space. At the turn of the last century the building was the home to a blacksmith shop and carriage house, a big reason for the choice of name for this new workshop. Local makers lead by Joey Adams the current president of the board of directors at the Forge, property owners, and the Greensboro Partnership Entrepreneur Connection came together and worked for nearly two years to make the Forge a reality. Nancy Vaughan, the Mayor of Greensboro was on hand to help with the ribbon cutting.
The Forge joins several other Maker Communities and Maker Spaces around the state of North Carolina including the Alamance Makers Guild in Burlington NC, Splat Space in Durham NC, Fab Locker in Winston Salem NC, The Foothills Community Workshop in Granite Falls NC, The Asheville Makers in Asheville NC, and the Raleigh Maker Space in Raleigh NC. Universities and Libraries around the state are increasingly becoming hosts to Maker Spaces including NC State University, Elon University and UNC Greensboro among others. The folks from the Forge are even helping out UNC Greensboro with their on-campus space.
The Forge is split into three areas. The first area is the “Hard Space” a workshop that takes up about two thirds of the 3600 square foot space. Its designed for dirty work like metal working and wood working and is currently host to several serious tools including a Laser Cutter.
The second area is the “Soft Space.” Its designed for socializing, collaboration, entertainment, computer work, clean-work like 3D printing, and more.
The final area is out back and is sheltered from the elements by a cool inverted tent with metal pylons driven six feet into a large concrete pad. The outdoor space is flexible for many different kinds of activities including “Gorge at the Forge” where local chefs will come, prepare food for members, and teach classes on cooking.
Like many maker spaces the Forge is a non profit and currently has no employees. All the tools in the space have been donated by members and local supporters. The Forge is currently looking for donations of other tools and equipment. At the moment the Forge is supported by about 50 active members from Greensboro and the surrounding area. If they can get to their goal of 200 active members by the end of the year then they plan to expand into the adjoining building, the former horse stable for the original blacksmith shop and carriage house so that they can add more metal working and other larger format tools.
The Forge has the goal of being a highly collaborative space where hobbyists and entrepreneurs, students, youth, and mentors, engineers and experimenters can all come together and develop ideas that will launch new businesses, create new jobs, and expand the maker movement in Greensboro NC. They hold open houses two days each month on the first and third Thursday at 7:00pm. They also offer tours and Q+A sessions to prospective new members.