It’s not everyday that a drywall contractor, a woodwooker, and an Alaskan fisherman band together to launch a startup. DIY Cave, a new makerspace at the old Pakit Liquidators location in East Bend, is the result of hard work and focus from founders Aaron Leis, Dave Danek, and Tim Willis. DIY Cave is part of the growing do it yourself revolution by providing advice from experts, equipment, classes, and shop space to make all kinds of things.
Year Started: 2014
Leadership/Founders: Aaron Reis, Dave Danek, Tim Willis
# of Employees: 4
Headquarters: 903 SE Armour Rd Bend, OR
Why a makerspace?
DIYcave wants to create an environment in which ideas and expertise can be shared and everything from common problems to imaginative visions can be achieved. Our vision is based on a premise of self reliance, responsibility and sharing. The opportunities available at DIYcave are only limited to the imagination of the creator and proper execution. Our goal is to empower people to see their ideas through to a finished product by providing the tools and a safe environment, and by teaching people skills that may not otherwise have the chance to learn.
How did you join forces?
Aaron: I was a maker in spirit since before there was a name for us, and I had been reading about makerspaces in Make Magazine. Realizing that I could either be the guy who points at someone else’s success and says “I had that idea five years ago” but never gets off the couch, or I could be the guy who does it. I chose the latter and began to research and collect data. I searched for other makerspaces in Bend and found nothing that fit the bill yet. I had tool lists, business concepts, even a layout of the possible shop floor. I heard through the grapevine that the old Pakit Liquidators building was being re-vamped and available to lease.
That’s when I heard about the High Desert Makers and the Monday Night Meetup and I decided to check it out. I realized that this was the community that I was building my space for and wanted to make a good impression. Scot Brees, President of the High Desert Makers, connected me with Dave and Tim because we he felt we had similar goals, and the Maker Community here in Central Oregon is all very supportive of each other. We quickly found that Tim, Dave and I were best as a team. They had the social side of things covered, I had the physical side. Together we were able to pull off a considerable makerspace in a short time.
Tell us about opening day..
We had our grand opening on May 30th after several weeks of preparation with no idea what to expect. The list of firsts for us that day just goes on and on. When we opened our doors that morning we were pleasantly surprised when people started stepping through our door immediately, and the flow of people never stopped until the end. Our demos of shop equipment were well received, the feedback was positive, and our membership count increased. In the end, Tim, Dave and I were chatting and realized that we could focus on just making DIYcave an awesome makerspace now, and not the grand opening anymore. That was fulfilling and exhilarating at the same time.
What about the name? Is it a play on “Man Cave” or a reference to all the caves in Central Oregon?
Dave: It’s not a Man Cave at all. About half the people who walk in the door are women! We wanted to convey the idea that it’s a place to hang out – and it helped that all the social media and web addresses were available.
Ideally, we will grow out of this space and open a bigger one in the future. Our dream is to build a successful makerspace model that can be replicated in other cities too.
Tierney O’Dea is a writer and media consultant. She started her career at NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and worked in various forms of media for national organizations including Scholastic, Yahoo, and NASA. She also served as an executive for two startups, Slooh.com and Medic Mobile, and as a mentor for entrepreneurs in Austin, TX. In her free time, she enjoys downhill skiing, hiking, photography, and astronomy.
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