Manufacturing Collective coming to Shenandoah Valley

Manufacturing Collective coming to Shenandoah Valley

We love working with visionary clients, especially those that support other small businesses. When Debbie and Nate approached us about their Manufacturing Collective project we were very excited to work with them. One, the building is a hidden gem in Harrisonburg and two, their goals to create a manufacturing incubator is a huge asset to our local business community. I asked Debbie to tell us in her words more about the facility.

A manufacturing incubator is coming to the Shenandoah Valley. The Manufactory Collective will support small batch and early-stage manufacturers as they scale up their businesses. The name, Manufactory Collective, is a literal description of the vision for this space. This will be a facility used for the production of manufactured goods by many individuals and small businesses. The Manufactory Collective will serve as an incubator by pursuing three main goals: to provide access to manufacturing space, to provide access to manufacturing equipment, and to provide access to fractional services and entrepreneur support

manufactory collective ceiling and rafters

Entrepreneurs are often praised for starting in their kitchens or garages, but what we often don’t see is the challenge of being space constrained until their business grows and they can afford their own standalone space. We want to help overcome this challenge by offering entrepreneurs and small business owners an interim space to grow their businesses. The Manufactory Collective has leased a 20,000+ sq ft facility which will offer dedicated work areas ranging from stand alone workbenches to studios to entire rooms for anchor tenants. Members will be able to upgrade or downgrade their spaces as their business needs change. This will closely resemble many of the coworking spaces emerging around the United States.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners face many challenges as they scale their manufacturing operations. They are often resource constrained and have to add tools and equipment over time, slowing down their ability to scale to market demand. Their low volumes or unique offerings make it challenging to find reliable support from local and regional fabrication shops, and outsourcing overseas can be cumbersome and costly. The Manufactory Collective will bring together commonly needed manufacturing equipment to support many disciplines. We will also offer modern manufacturing and rapid-prototyping equipment to find novel ways to efficiently produce these low volume and unique parts. We are also working to secure a partnership with a local university or college to provide a rapid-prototyping space to turn ideas into viable products. Entrepreneurs and small business owners have to wear many hats and spend time away from creating the value that will grow their business. They don’t have the luxury of hiring teams of people to help run their organization. The Manufactory Collective will offer access to several types of fractional services and entrepreneurs support services to help support these growing businesses. These services will range from purchasing and fulfillment to project management, engineering, and even include fractional CFO and COO options. These services will be available on an as-needed basis, allowing these businesses to make a full-time employee investment, but receive the value of a team.

We hope the Manufactory Collective can serve as a strong part of the manufacturing ecosystem in the Shenandoah Valley by bridging the gaps that exist for small batch and early-stage manufacturers. Collaborating with machine shops, large manufacturers, higher ed partners, and other community partners will be pivotal to the success of the Manufactory Collective and the businesses that scale within it.

For tours and more information on the new facility contact: 540-238-3645.

Red Wing Academy returns for First Friday

Red Wing Academy returns for First Friday

We absolutely love supporting and partnering with Red Wing Academy each year. The students get the amazing experience of learning from area musical experts and some of my favorite people ever. Red Wing Academy is hosted by Eric Brubaker of The Steel Wheels as a four-day intensive camp held in June at Eastern Mennonite University. These campers then get a chance to perform on stage at Red Wing Roots Music Festival on June 23rd.

The camp is open to non-beginners that play violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin, and banjo from age 5 – 19. Student have individual and group instruction from an amazing array of teachers and get to play some incredible music together. I have attended their week ending performance at EMU several times and always make a point to see them at Red Wing Roots Music Festival.

Gaines Group Architects sponsors the camp each year as a way to support the next generation of musicians in our community. A focus on musical instruction not only teaches kids how to play, but studies have shown that it accelerates brain development in young children, particularly in the areas of the brain that are responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception, and reading skills.

We are thrilled to have them back again this year at our December First Friday event, on December 2nd, 2022 on the second floor of The Depot.

A special Thank You to Meg with Tiller Strings for making the partnership possible!

Job Shadowing virtually from the University of Miami

Job Shadowing virtually from the University of Miami

University of Miami life has included a few fun days at Key Biscayne, a lot of late nights in the architecture studio, and a ton of thinking about my future career as a licensed architect. Despite only being a rising third year at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture, I have found myself frequently wondering what it is like to be a real architect. Throughout my two years of school, I have learned software after software, great design skills, and how to make a snazzy layout for a final pinup, but I had not exactly grasped what day-to-day life is like for a licensed architect working in a firm. I wanted more information and experience so I started looking for opportunities.

A job shadowing position at Gaines Group Architects was the perfect answer to my question. I met with my mentor, Charles Hendricks, for two and a half months over the summer. I currently live in Miami, so going to the Virginia-based firm in person was not an option. Charles and I worked out an option to do a virtual job shadowing position where I could get a glimpse of his current projects and design a new project of my own. I met with Charles on Zoom (link to zoom website) once a week and was able to receive invaluable feedback on my design while gaining insight into his responsibilities as the principal architect at Gaines Group Architects.

I have been interested in architecture since I was young. Whether I was designing houses on Minecraft and The Sims or printing out blueprints and drawing over them, I was always finding ways to create and design. The first time I met Charles was over two years ago when I was deciding whether or not to major in architecture in college. Charles told me getting an architecture degree would not be easy and is accompanied by a lot of late nights, but it is worth it if architecture is what I truly enjoy. After that conversation I knew architecture was the major for me, even knowing it is challenging. 

Now, speaking as someone with two years of a degree under her belt, architecture school is the hardest thing I have ever done. I have Studio, my main class, for three hours every other day. Honestly, studio controls my life. Once the class is finished, I stay in the studio and continue to work all day, otherwise, there is no way I will get to bed before 4 a.m. Weekends are reserved for projects, not partying. Getting an architecture degree takes discipline, but I am able to make it through because I love the work I am doing. If I could give one piece of advice to someone considering going to architecture school, it would be to only go into this degree if it really captivates your interest and is something you could work on consistently for hours every single day. Yes, architecture school is hard, but it is the only way to become an architect, so it is worth it to me.

When Charles offered me a virtual job shadowing position for the summer, I was very eager to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about architecture post-college. College architecture is all that I know, and although the degree is designed to prepare me for life after graduation, I still was not sure what it was like to be an architect working in a firm. A lot of the designs we do in college are not geared toward real-life clients, so it was hard to imagine designing catered to others’ wants and needs versus my own. For the job shadowing position, I decided to design my parents’ future home that they will be constructing in around five years. This project was the perfect way to experience designing something with real clients, but the clients are my parents, so it is okay if I mess up. I also took on the task of learning and using software I had never used before. Charles informed me that at his firm they use #SketchUp for 3D modeling. At the University of Miami, we use either Rhinoceros 3D or #Revit for digital model making, but I had heard before that Sketchup is a more commonly used software in firms, so I figured this summer would be a great time to learn, especially with Charles assisting me along the way.

Charles suggested the first step in this project be a #Zoom meeting with both of my parents, where I interview them as the “principal architect” and ask questions regarding their vision for their future dream home. Charles was very helpful in this process; he gave me a list of topics to discuss with my clients that allowed me to understand what sort of questions I will be asking my clients in the future.

My parents wanted a Pacific Northwest-style home with three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, an open floor plan, large living spaces, and kitchen, and most importantly, a giant covered porch. The house is going to be built on my parents’ land, so my next step would be to visit the site in person to get a feel for the topography and areas with the best views. Since I am in Miami, I could not visit the site myself. Thankfully, Charles was able to meet with my parents and visit the site, so then he could explain to me where and how the house should be positioned to warrant the best possible views of the property. The site is sloped, so I had to overcome the challenge of designing a home on a hill, which is obviously not a design issue I experience in Miami. Additionally, because I was unable to see the site in person, it was difficult at times to understand important design-affecting elements, such as how steep the incline of the land is and the location of the existing driveway in relation to the site. Charles helped me through these challenges and gave me great insight as to how to design a home with a sensible layout that is also in-budget, structurally sound, and up-to-par with my parent’s stylistic requirements.

I started my design process with sketches and drafts of floor plans and elevations. Through the drafting stage, I learned a lot about how to stay on budget and how particular elements like having a lot of angles, too spread out of a floorplan, or a complex roof can quickly make the cost of the building increase. I learned to simplify and condense design elements to fit my parents’ budget, which is something I have not had to do in college architecture due to the fact that we are not designing for a real client with a real budget.

After I had a more solidified floor plan, I used AutoCAD to further its development. I found it very beneficial to have “clients” to reference when I had a particular design question. In architecture school, the student makes all the design decisions and caters the project to his or her own desires, but for this project, I got a taste of what it is like to design for somebody else rather than myself. I was able to ask my clients what they exactly wanted, so essentially the clients were making all the tough decisions for me. 

Next, I brought my floor plans into SketchUp and began 3D modeling. SketchUp was far more user-friendly than any other 3D modeling software I have used, so I had a great time playing around with the form of the house and making changes to the floor plan accordingly. I found it to be much easier to quickly go from an incomplete model to a finished model with materials and landscaping in SketchUp than it is in any other 3D modeling software, so I am very grateful Charles suggested I learn the program. Additionally, I now have another skill to add to my resume and another unique design piece to add to my portfolio.

As part of this job shadowing experience, I also got an inside look at what Charles is working on and the sorts of projects he receives at his firm. It was very interesting to see the grand scope of projects he is juggling all at once, from a giant book warehouse to a bagel store to a gorgeous home. I realized that architecture can be whatever I want to make it in the future, and I can specialize in literally any field of architecture I desire. I also realized that it gets better. Architecture is not an easy profession by any means, but at least it seems that the all-nighters will stop after college. 

Getting an architectural degree can feel defeating at times, but this job shadowing experience gave me hope for my future as a licensed architect. I would recommend anyone considering majoring in architecture, or even already working on their architecture degree, to job shadow an architect. I gained so much from my job shadowing experience: I learned new software, received amazing feedback on my own work, gained insight into the work and daily life of a busy architect, and designed a dream home for my parents. Thanks to Charles and Gaines Group Architects, I can now picture my future as a working architect and I am looking forward to it more than ever. 

Project Update: Blue Ridge Mountain Home

Project Update: Blue Ridge Mountain Home

We had the pleasure of stopping by our Blue Ridge Mountain Home project and were thrilled to see the final stages of construction wrapping up. It is a special experience to walk through and experience this new home after carefully crafting the design with our clients. To catch up on the earlier stages of this project and learn more about the floor plan, visit the entries here and here.

As this project hits the final stretch, we are excited for our clients to live the life they imagined in this space. Between the open and flexible floor plan combined with the integrated building science system, we are proud to see this durable design come to life. Partnering with Herr and Company to build the project gives us confidence that the client will love the results.

We love the natural light flooding into the open kitchen and living room that gives way to a breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The skylights above the family room will maximize natural light within the family room and can also be found in the second-floor master suite.

The rear porch of this Blue Ridge Mountain Home gives plenty of room for entertainment and a covered porch in case weather rolls in.

The welcoming large front door is perfectly situated to welcome the homeowners in with storage, drop zones, and a mountain view.
The greenhouse on the back of the garage will absorb plenty of sunlight and sits in front of a magnificent view.
The breezeway provides a covered route from the detached garage to the home.
How the space feels changes everything! #interiordesign

How the space feels changes everything! #interiordesign

We are seeing many more commercial clients exploring #interiordesign to make their customer experience even better these days. This often starts with a space update. How the space “feels” changes everything! The colors, textures, light, furniture, and flooring all tell a story about your business. It has become so challenging to attract customers and even employees to your business and this is another tool you can implement. Give us a call if you want to explore an update that will better tell your businesses story.

This #interiordesign renovation for Weiler Orthodontics was done a few years ago to better convey the personality of the business, make clients feel welcome, and to make the space easier to work in for the employees. We have seen their business evolve with this new look at take on such a fun personality and dominate their field locally.