Red Mountain Makers is now open at their new location in Hardware Park! The move to 810 4th Avenue North features a downtown space that is nearly double the size of the nonprofit’s last home. This means more classes, larger classrooms, more studios for Birmingham creators to rent, and an increase in Red Mountain Makers memberships. They are currently raising money to help offset the costs of the buildout, and the gofundme offers some pretty cool rewards for those who donate to the cause.
The idea for the nonprofit was formed when a group of like-minded visionaries envisioned a “place for the Birmingham area to do things they didn’t have space for in their garage or their basement. Having the equipment that you might want at home and also having the expertise of people who can help you use it.” The nonprofit, which was founded in May 2014, is currently led by President Steven Wyss, and features an all-star collection of volunteers and board members that consist of shop managers, fundraisers, operations managers, and more.
Red Mountain Makers initially started with a heavy focus in electronics, robotics, and programming but has evolved to be more manual with woodworking, metal working, and similar skills becoming a primary focus. They provide classes for beginners, studio spaces for makers and small businesses, and help nurture area startups looking to reach the next level in their business.
Educational classes include blacksmithing, woodworking, stained glass, fibers and leather, pottery, welding, and more. After taking certain classes like welding, individuals can use the equipment for personal projects. Carlo Rezzonico, Vice Chair of the nonprofit who is also a woodshop manager and a paying member with a personal space at the building, shares that the team behind Red Mountain Makers believes it’s crucial to provide a space for people “to spend a few hours doing something cool that they can go home with like a cutting board for woodworking or a stained glass ornament, or just learn a skill that they’ve been wanting to practice for a while.”
The new location also allows makers to rent 10’ by 10’ or 10’ by 20’ rooms to have a place to store their equipment and be able to use the supplies found at Red Mountain Makers. The nonprofit excels at helping people at the early stages of their craft, or those entrepreneurs looking to begin prototyping a product but on a smaller scale.
Two startups that started at the makerspace and highlight the importance of Red Mountain Makers' nurturing atmosphere are Conserv and Vizrom. Conserv is an air quality monitoring software company that started as a personal project before finding a home in museums, private art collections, and other places that need to closely monitor air quality. Vizrom started as a digital license plate concept that would allow people to renew their license from their phone. They now provide services for hospitals and more, and are currently a part of Innovation Depot’s Velocity Accelerator program. Both of these entrepreneurial projects successfully leveraged RMM’s expertise, equipment, and technology to take their ideas to the next level.
Red Mountain Makers are on the move, and with them comes a city full of rising makers and small businesses. We can’t wait to see the positive ripple effects that come from this exciting move.