We created gather here with Virginia's savings account back in 2010. That small pot of money was enough to lease a 1,200 square foot space on Broadway. Within a year we would expand to another floor, doubling our maker space and inventory. The workshop spaces have been used to teach over three thousand people how to sew, knit, crochet, and embroider in nearly five years. But after the building sold in 2014, we knew we needed to find a better place to call home.
In the spring of 2015 we took a chance on a storefront with "great bones" and in a wonderful location right in the heart of Inman Square. After many stumbling blocks (most notably, no contractors available within our budget) we finally bit the bullet and decided to project manage the build-out of the new location ourselves. It's been a challenge. Not only because there's an element of herding cats to managing such a massive project but so much of our heart and bank accounts are invested in the success of making this gather here's new home. (On a personal note, Noah and Virginia will celebrate 15 years of marriage in February if this project doesn't cause them to permanently separate.)
Why do we need you? Because without you we wouldn't have made it this far. YOU are the reason we even believed we could successfully run a 2,400 square foot stitch lounge for four years. And well, as you can see in the video, 1343 Cambridge Street is a bit of a disaster zone. From the roof to the basement, everything needs serious TLC. We're even ripping out the front of the building and replacing it with something beautiful. With the help of the building owner and the City of Cambridge Redevelopment Program, we have some resources but it won't be enough if we truly want to create something awesome that you will want to visit all the time and make all the things. From light fixtures to shelving, you can expect the unexpected. We promise to keep the industrial bones of this space visible because the intersection of fiber and industry are at the heart of New England.
We've signed a 10 year lease because we are committed to making Cambridge gather here's home. We want to make our permanent move in January 2016 just like we moved into our first location. Hopefully with less snow. This fundraising effort will help us make necessary renovations and create a space we can all be proud of in Inman Square. We have set a minimum goal that will get us to the minimum of where the building needs to be to move. We do, however, hope to meet that goal early and with your help to surpass it. Additional operating capital will help us keep our current location operating smoothly while investing our time and energy heavily into the renovation and move. Plus your contribution helps to provide security and stability for our dedicated staff. We anticipate there will be changes along the way, all additional assistance can only help us navigate those surprises, which we realize are inevitable.
For those of you that know Virginia and Noah, you know that it is humbling to ask for help. We're handy and creative and we know how to stretch our resources. But this project is bigger than the two of us. Like gather here has become bigger than the little knitting group Virginia imagined would come and stitch on Thursday night's when she was daydreaming about one day opening a stitch lounge. gather here is part of the fabric of Greater Boston's creative community. And we would be honored to have your support.
A huge thank you to Ryan McCoy Johnson for filming and editing our video. He's been an integral part of our journey and we think the world of him.
Risks and challenges
Owning a small business is risky business. There are box stores and online stores to compete with. But we weathered the Great Recession and made a niche for ourselves in the creative community.
Right now the greatest risk is we won't finish before gather here's current lease runs out. The bottom line is we have to do this. We have to move and we believe in gather here's future. We can't do that in the space as it is since it's still not quite the space any of us want to call home (yet). There is nothing that motivates us more than thinking of shuttering gather here. Rest assured that isn't an option.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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