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.
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: Debbie@manufactorycollective.com 540-238-3645.