We can never predict the kinds of fortunes that come our way. Many times they arrive at our doorsteps wrapped in an enigma of misery and bad luck. This studio landed at our feet at a time where we really needed it.
GR Makers has been a pretty good launch pad for our studio in the past few years. It allowed us a space to freely and somewhat effectively gain members, have workshops, and build up our tool supply. The down side was that there was zero transparency, mishandled equipment, and being at the mercy of a very disordered leadership. The atmosphere went from bad to worse when neither tools nor personal space were being respected.
We're metalsmiths. This is our part-time job for some of us. Sometimes, we are completely fine showing people around the space and talking about our work. What we don't appreciate are folks hovering over us while we work, pick and torch in hand, and having to listen to them continue on in narcissistic or demeaning conversations with themselves. Especially in high workload season, i.e. The Holidays. There was also disconcerting news about how a particular person who was placed in charge of the space was getting verbally and physically aggressive with some members.
Months ago I was already making movements towards getting this space purchased. So I felt relieved when things were nearing the closing date. I estimated a month to get the lower level up and ready and the upper floor to be ready in another month. We would be set and ready to move at the end of February.
Then I got laid off from my job.
Three days after that I bought the space anyways.
Not much has slowed down since.
Things were still ok enough at GR Makers where I felt we could hold off on moving out. I had contractors in the space to look at the lower level and get the overall vision across. Things were pretty well set with the agreement to start the project but then news of one of the members getting assaulted put a halt to it all.
Nobody assaults one of our own. I called a complete 180 on the plans as we gathered as many of our members as possible on a Saturday morning. We spent half of the day packing up our tools, loading it all up into each of our cars, and hauling it to the new space. Managed to get a good 90% of our stuff save for the larger items where we would need a trailer.
Our efforts were now entirely on getting the main level finished. The studio space.
Everyone continued the momentum in the following weeks. These ladies seriously kick ass and I am incredibly grateful for all the work they have done. It's been fun evenings with pizza, beer, and organizing along with early mornings filled with coffee, pastries, and painting.
Oh yeah, Hall Street Bakery is down the road from us...
We look forward to furthering our progress in the next few weeks with opening our doors and launching our crowdfunding campaign to help finish the lower level. It has been an amazing and uplifting experience seeing everyone come together for the single goal of getting this space actualized. As a new small business owner in Grand Rapids, I'm confident The Hot Spot will do just fine...