Avondale's MAKEbhm working on 2nd location

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - MAKEbhm has plans to expand with a second location.

The makerspace in Avondale brings together local artists under one roof, including woodworkers, screen printers and pottery makers. Artists can become members, rent space and share tools.

Chris Izor, who oversees operations, said MAKEbhm was the dream of local architect Bruce Lanier.

"He had a lot of equipment for wood working that he needed a place to put," said Izor. "He also wanted a place to work that was not his garage."

According to Izor, Lanier reached out to other people who felt the same way.

"Eventually he got sort of this network of makers together," explained Izor.

MAKEbhm started in a warehouse on the old Continental Gin property before moving a few blocks to its current location on 3rd Avenue South.

Izor said MAKEbhm is expanding again. This time with plans to open a new location called M2 at the building that used to house Old Car Heaven.

"One of the things we've seen over the course of our time is that there are businesses that need even more space than we can offer," said Izor.

"They still want to be connect to the city of Birmingham and not sort of on the outskirts," explained Izor. "They also want a collaborative work environment similar to ours."

Izor said the industrial side of M2 is expected to open later this year with retail spaces coming later.

According to Izor, Susan Gordon Pottery is one of the success stories. Gordon moved her business from her home's basement to a rented space at MAKEbhm a few years ago. She now ships products to customers and stores across the country. Gordon has several employees who work out of the MAKEbhm warehouse, including Mia Badham.

"We get emails from people wanting to sale our stuff, like 15 new retailers every single day, placing thousand dollar orders," said Badham.

MAKEbhm isn't just for experienced artists. Izor said classes are offered for beginners on screen printing, forging and ceramics.

"For folks who don't have any experience making stuff, classes are a great option," explained Izor.

He said the goal of each class is to introduce the students to the studio and material process.

"Some people may dabble, some people may have a great time in class, but other people will want to get their own membership, " said Izor.

For people wanting to become a member or take a class, Izor said they can reach out to them online at MAKEbhm.com.

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