Guest Author: Carmen Cornejo, AZSciTechFest Hispanic Outreach, Principal, Critical Mass Communications, LLC
Arnold’s Pickle House is an iconic building right on Van Buren and 14th Street, an old warehouse decorated with a vintage looking drawing of a pickle dude with eyes, mouth, arms and legs running in a cap. Inside cucumbers were processed and transformed in pickles, years ago.
The building has been abandoned for years but thanks to Chicanos por la Causa (CPLC), one of Arizona’s top community development organizations, soon it will come back to life as a center for STEM and entrepreneurship.
Chicanos por la Causa just closed on the building mid-November thanks to a 3 million federal grant from the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, with the purpose of creating a maker space and business incubator.
“The idea is to create new businesses here. It will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to build a prototype, create a product and try to sell it,” said David Adame, CPLC’s Chief Economic Development Officer.
“If you come in with a new idea and bring the prototype in, we can make a 3D printing of it. Then you go out and pitch it. We can later help with manufacturing orders,” David explained.
CPLC is planning to keep elements of the old building, including the name and the pickle dude to connect the past with the present and the future.
This space represents a great opportunity for Phoenix by offering a maker space, nurture the maker movement in the central area of the valley and attract young creators from high-schools, colleges and universities in addition with experts.
CPLC is planning work on the building will begin after the holidays and expects to have the maker space up and running by June 2015.