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New business looks to create community of makers in Johnson City

Hannah Swayze, Johnson City Press • Sep 26, 2017 at 8:59 AM

Skillville, a new business in downtown Johnson City, looks to create a community of makers. The business, which has yet to officially open, is owned by three friends: Leah Jobe, Seth Thomas and Brad Cornelison.

"What we're doing is we want to create a community work space where we can teach the people around us how to work with tools that they may not have experience with or exposure to," Thomas said. "I kind of grew up around this stuff but I see it generationally, it's not really something people know how to do anymore. So that's what kind of what stemmed the desire to start something like this."

The building, which was purchased in February, is located at 224 W. Market St. The trio hope to open the business in October.

"What we're going to have is going to be set up a couple different ways. We'll have a fully functional wood and metal shop, and so if somebody already has experience with these tools and they just need space they can come in, pay a membership, like a gym, and use the shop whenever they want, at their leisure," Thomas said.

Anyone who comes through the doors to use the shop will have to complete a safety class, waiver and orientation.

In addition to simply providing a space for people to come in and work, the business will also provide a variety of classes.

Some classes Jobe, Thomas and Cornelison will teach themselves and others they plan on bringing in teachers for. According to Thomas and Jobe, they're already had a number of artisans and makers in the area reach out and express interest in teaching classes.

Jobe says that whatever they can generate interest in for a class, if one of the three of them don’t know how, they will find someone else to teach it or find a way to make it happen.

Some examples of prospective classes include woodworking, metalworking, repurposing, stained glass, jewelry-making, a home-improvement class, letterpress, soap-making and more. The three also plan on providing an array of children's classes and team-building exercises.

"We want to create a community of artisans and artists and hopefully generate a big enough community that the students become instructors, and start this carousel of student learning," Thomas said.