( Photo above (L-R) DIYcave owners Dave Danek & Aaron Leis stand in front of the DIYcave . Photo provided by Gregg Morris.)
Last winter, friends and Bend residents, Tim Willis and Dave Danek had a conversation about what Bend really needs. Not long into the conversation, they began to wrap their collective heads around the idea of creating an ultimate workshop, available to everyone. Months later, they became aware of a contemporary culture of do-it-yourselfers called the Maker Movement. They quickly realized that they were interested in creating a “makerspace” in Bend.
“No matter what plans we made or what we thought the ultimate workshop was, the most important piece of the puzzle would be the people who were using the space,” explains Danek, a professional furniture and cabinet maker.
At the same time Willis and Danek were beginning to shape their idea into reality, professional drywall contractor and follower of the Maker Movement, Aaron Leis was well on his way to turning the same business idea a reality. After a random meeting at a “makers meet-up” group, the three realized they could do something much greater if they combine forces and work together.
The DIYcave, located in the old Pak-it building in southeast Bend, is the fruit of their combined labor. Based on a premise of self-reliance, responsibility and sharing, the DIYcave provides opportunities for creative expression and creation of sustainable projects. It provides a safe environment, expert guidance, and professional tools for people to undertake desired endeavors. The owners’ vision of projects includes, but is not limited to, automotive repair, trailer construction, refinishing, and garden projects.
Those who ventured into Pak-it when it was still a used material supply store would agree this is the perfect spot for a makerspace. While Pak-it assisted home remodelers and other re-users through supplying hard to find objects, the metamorphosis into the DIYcave takes it one step further by showing people how to accomplish their goals. The 3,000 square feet of classic warehouse space is lined with tools and machines for woodworking, metalwork and automotive repair.
“We are providing a service in this warehouse environment that takes the Pak-it concept and evolves it further,” says Leis.
Danek agrees. “The building’s entire history has been one of building, fixing and making.”
The DIYcave offers space for people to work, as well as classes geared toward sharing professional knowledge. February’s classes ran the gamut from welding and drywall repair to workbench building and ski tuning. The list of classes will grow each month as the owners match experts in various areas with projects requested by customers. They believe each new skill learned awakens the creative spirit within all of us. In addition to teaching new skills, the DIYcave also introduces people to machines most are unaware of; like a planer or metal mill lathe and brake.
Leis, Danek and Willis all agree that their various skill sets, combined with different personalities, complement each other and will make for a successful venture. They have all been very active in transforming the space into the DIYcave, and share the responsibilities of running a business equally. The three are also quick to recognize the supportive help they have received along the way from friends, family, and other local makers.
“Though we’re building a business that’s based on self-sufficiency, ‘Do It Yourself’ doesn’t actually mean do it ‘by’ yourself,” says Danek.
As an interesting piece of marketing, Danek and Willis spent last fall at Northwest Crossing’s Farmers Market and the Bend Fall Festival constructing a cider press for a customer. While the owners are waiting to hold their official grand opening, they have been offering classes since their soft opening in February.
444 SE 9th Street, Bend
Owners: Aaron Leis, Dave Danek, Tim Willis
Employees: 3 owners + contract class instructors
Year Established: 2015
Services: Space rental, tool rental, and instruction in various disciplines, ranging from metalwork to gear repair.
Hot News: DIYcave seeks to further the cause of the Maker Movement by assisting do-it-yourselfers.
Outlook for growth: More tools available for rental and more classes being added each month.