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Makers Central: A Rising Tide Approach to Business

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March 5, 2020

by Annabelle Allen – 

Makers Central is an incubator for small maker businesses. Founded in June 2019 and located at 84 Central Avenue in Tarrytown, the creative warehouse is home to five individual businesses, each of them turning out hand-made, high-quality goods for the hospitality industry.

Connor McGinn sculpts ceramic dinnerware in the front of the warehouse, while Matt Yazel makes one-of-a-kind knives in the back. In the middle is Natalia Woodward, pressing flowers and printing her drawings onto stationery. C-los Carpentry takes control of the back left of the warehouse, creating hand-made bowls and furniture, not far from where Dan Sabia transforms wood scraps into countertops and cutting boards.

It’s a beehive of creativity. Though unlike a real hive, they are not all working for the queen bee. They are working for themselves.

What makes Makers Central so extraordinary is how these businesses work together while still maintaining their individuality. “It’s the idea of a rising tide. A rising tide brings up all the ships,” said co-founder McGinn. “The success of one maker helps the success of another.” He explained that the goal of Makers Central is to create an environment where these small makers businesses succeed through coexisting.

“One of the most difficult things about being an artist is the business end of things,” said McGinn. One of the reasons McGinn opened Makers Central is to help small makers businesses grow their platform. Makers Central creates an environment that not only encourages creativity but supports artists with their business. Each individual renting space pays a membership fee, and with that comes 24-hour access to their space, access to all events, and a running list of resources that help support and build a business. However, Connor also shared that the most valuable resource they have is each other.

“There is constant learning and helping each other out,” said McGinn. Many of the creators have a background in restaurant work, and their clientele is largely comprised of chefs and restaurant professionals. And since their crafts share space on the dinner table, the makers can also share business.

“If I have a chef coming in here to look at plates, I pretty much won’t let him or her walk out the door unless they come back and see everybody else,” McGinn said. “And the chef will say, ‘Oh, you have a knife guy! I’ve got to talk to the knife guy.’ Or, ‘Oh, you make cutting boards!’ Or, ‘Oh, you make menus!’”

Though everybody in Makers Central runs their own business, the camaraderie among the makers is what fuels their success. McGinn doesn’t see himself as the boss, nor does he want to be. Rather, he wants Makers Central to be seen as “a resource rather than an overlord,” a community powered by a give and take of resources among fledgling entrepreneurs.

“What I’m trying to do with makers is collect all of these resources and learn on the fly as we go about how to help other individuals businesses get set up and get running and thrive,” McGinn said. “It’s a scary, stressful and vulnerable time opening up a business, but it’s been a challenging and fun experience.” McGinn believes Makers Central will prove fruitful for these makers businesses.

The warehouse is having a Mother’s Day pop up on May 9. The doors to Makers Central will be open, there will be a food truck outside, local distilleries and brewers doing tastings, a coffee vendor, and candles for sale. The makers will give live demonstrations. Though the warehouse is not a regular retail shop, the makers know it’s important to be a part of the larger community. Makers Central invites visitors to take a tour and meet the makers on May 9.

“It’s important that we have these pop-up events where we can open up to the public, have people meet the different makers and hear each of our individual stories. It’s hugely important for us to be a part of a larger community,” said McGinn.

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