Since its launch in fall 2014, one major Muncie project has changed its name and is continuing to grow exponentially.
Formerly referred to as Gearbox: Muncie, A Maker Hub, the makerspace project has changed its name to better fit its evolving brand, according to a press release.
Located at the corner of Madison and Jackson Streets in downtown Muncie, the creative collective will now be called Madjax, the Muncie Maker Force.
Owned and operated by Sustainable Muncie Corporation, a non-profit entity organized to focus on the economic development of Muncie, Madjax will host a variety of maker, community and academic tenants.
“Madjax, the Muncie Maker Force is very reflective of our goals for this program,” Michael Wolfe, board president for Sustainable Muncie Corporation, said in a press release. “The makers have always been a force in Muncie, and this location facilitates a coming together and bringing of spirit, collaboration and a rich culture.”
Paired with the name is the qualifier, Maker Force, which is a modern take on workforce, creating a sense of community for the makers who will work in Madjax. Though the makers will work in unique industries, the Maker Force is the thread that will tie the individuals together.
Madjax has recently released its first set of commercial tenants: Tribune Showprint and The Guardian Brewing Company.
The Tribune Showprint is the oldest, continuously operating print show in the country and has recently relocated from Fowler, Indiana, to Madjax in Muncie.
Owned by Kim Miller and her husband, Tribune Showprint designs and produces hundreds of made-to-order posters for concerts, sporting events, festivals and carnivals one letter at a time.
The printing company was excited to move locations and become a part of the maker community, Miller said.
“We decided to come into Madjax because I really like what their mission statement is — to have people doing things and making things — and we really wanted to be a part of that community; ... that’s exactly what we do,” Miller said. “They are very focused on trying to get people who focus on the arts, whether it be crafts like the brewery or actually hands-on tangible objects. We are really excited to be in a community of like-minded people.”
Tribune Showprint is the only tenant on sight at the moment, but Miller said the show is open to the public for tours.
“If people want to come in and see what we do, everyone is welcome to come in and look around, we just always make sure we follow safety rules," Miller said. "We love to have people in and look at it, and that’s one of the big reasons we're wanted in here, because [the building] is such a big piece of history that people don’t get to just see every day."
In addition to Tribune Showprint, Guardian Brewing Company will also be moving into the makerspace later this year.
The Guardian Brewing Company, which opened in 2015 by Bill Kerr and Jason Philips, is dedicated to brewing fresh, flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers.
“I love the idea behind Madjax and think it will be a great addition to downtown,” Kerr said in a press release. “The space makes a lot of sense infrastructure-wise for us. We need a lot of power, and this space has it.”
With the move, the brewery hopes to expand its craft beer selection and brew in larger batches. Until then, the brewery will remain open in its current location at White River Plaza.
Madjax will continue to announce tenants throughout the summer with tenant requests being reviewed on a first-come basis.
As the Madjax project continues to grow, Miller said she thinks it is important for the community to take an interest in the maker hub.
“I think it's really important for the community to care and get involved with Madjax because it’s a lot of small business, it's not just a big box store," Miller said. "Everybody here is going to be here, part of the community, living in the community. ... You can come in here and see everyone working and know not everything has to be a 9-to-5 job — you can be more hands on and nontraditional while making money, which I think is lost in the world today.”